Reports: U. of Alberta Properly Handled Shooting Response
EDMONTON, Alberta — In a response to a shooting that left three campus security officers dead and one seriously wounded in an armored-car robbery at the University of Alberta earlier this year, school officials have issued two reports claiming the situation was handled appropriately and in a timely manner.
The June 15 incident took place shortly after midnight inside the university’s HUB Mall, which contains retail stores, restaurants and student residences. Four G4S armed officers were shot, leaving three dead at the scene and one in critical condition.
Police arrested Travis Baumgartner, 21, a G4S Cash Solutions employee who was responsible for re-loading bank machines on the campus, for the shootings. At the time of Baumgartner’s arrest, which occurred in Lynden, Wash., authorities discovered $330,000 in cash in his backpack.
Following the incident, school officials commissioned a pair reports to review the university’s Crisis Management Team’s (CMT) response during the event. CMT has the responsibility of supporting first responders, displaced residents and members of the university during a crisis.
The first report reviewed what the CMT and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) did well and areas that needed improvement. For example, the report notes that in the early stages of the HUB incident, University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) dispatchers were overwhelmed with calls and requests for information, which limited their ability to provide support for UAPS officers in the field. Another area of concern included the inaccuracy of some CMT members’ contact information, as well of the certainty of whether CMT members were required to meet at the EOC even after the emergency message was issued.
The second report evaluated how administrators communicated emergency response information involving the incident to the campus community, specifically targeting why administrators didn’t use the university’s notification system during the event. The report supported the decision not to implement the notification system, citing that the campus community received information of the event immediately following the incident.
The two reports identified 19 recommendations for administrators to review, including:
- Implement processes that will enable protective services to increase dispatch staffing to handle the high volume of calls without removing peace officers from the field
- Ensure that all CMT databases are current and that training of CMT members addresses the process and protocol for attending the EOC.
- Determine whether a system can be implemented whereby the activation message could be retrieved remotely by CMT members
- Identify the university’s Interfaith Chaplains Association as a key resource within the CMT structure
- Identify and train second and third individuals to fill the EOC coordinator position when the first position is unavailable
- Enhance training for CMT members in the coordination of log information
- Ensure that all databases containing 24 hour emergency contact information of key internal and external stakeholders be maintained and kept current
- Enhance monitoring of the public and media communications
- Review and enhance protocols for contacting senior off-duty protective services members
- Establish an alternative protocol whereby an emergency notification can be sent without removing protective services resources from the field
- Enhance serious incident response training with emergency response agencies and address as part of the training the various emergency messaging systems the University has at its disposal
- Review active shooter, barricade situation, and hostage situation incident response protocol
- Take further steps to inform the university regarding its emergency communications systems, including its components and purpose
- Protective services should request a review of its communication protocols, particularly around the establishment of a unified command to determine if enhancements to those protocols should be made
- Establish a process to identify all potential internal key contacts during an emergency and maintain current contact information for these individuals and related groups
- Develop and verify a detailed protocol for the testing of the emergency notification system
- Enhance education to the university community regarding the University’s home page being the primary source of information about an emergency eventEstablish an inventory of E-mail lists that the CMT can use during an emergency
University officials have also commissioned a third-party report on how the school responded to the incident, focusing heavily on communications and interaction with the Edmonton Police Service. Officials expect to see the results before the end of the year.
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