7 Ways to Limit Liability in Joint Training on Campus

Before your university and local law enforcement conduct joint training, be sure you have a risk mitigation plan.

Recent mass shootings and the growing number of higher education institutes permitting concealed weapons on school grounds increase the importance of joint higher education institutes training with law enforcement. The benefits of joint exercises are obvious; however, any school planning a joint training must take into consideration and enact a training risk mitigation plan.

Whether it’s a tactical SWAT training, a physical familiarity training of police on campus grounds or a joint police\campus effort to develop a response to a call of an identified person with a weapon on school grounds, any joint training should take into consideration the following aspects:

  1. Liability insurance: As in any training and especially for tactical training involving employees or students, the school should ensure potential damages and injuries are covered by a liability insurance.
  2. Training parameters: Based on its knowledge of surrounding entities, local community sensitivities and its school population, the school should define training parameters and restrictions. Explosion and shooting simulations should receive special attention as should the use of red teams and hostage simulations.
  3. Coordination and information: It is imperative to inform students, employees, guests and neighbors of the planned training as well as non-partaking law enforcement, emergency response entities. Informing local media outlets should also be considered. Be thoughtful in these communications as the dissemination may be wider than anticipated through traditional media and social media outlets. During an ongoing training or exercise, sending status updates or notices of completion may be advisable.
  4. Cultural sensitivity: In terrorism simulations “actors” should be culturally sensitive and refrain from stereotypes. All sides partaking must take into consideration that context and syntax might be lost when students or employees post pictures and videos of the training on social media.
  5. Documentation and recommendations: Official documentation and recommendations can potentially create a liability to the institution.
  6. Obtain and review training plans: Especially when employees and students partake in the training, it is important to identify and resolve any contradictions with existing school protocols.
  7. Is the security team capable and knowledgeable? A joint training should expose areas of deficiency and improve upon them. However, if the joint training exposes ineffective school security plans or an incompetent security team, it will immediately undermine the confidence employees and students have in campus safety.

With the goal of improving cooperation between higher education institutes and local law enforcement, joint training should be encouraged and endorsed by all who care and own campus safety. As always, smart and conscious planning will ensure an effective and beneficial experience.

Oren Alter is the associate vice chancellor of crisis management and Carolyn Ware works in community relations and student advancement for a multi-campus university in the Southeast United States.

Photo: Thinkstock

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo