Posted on June 24, 2016
The No. 1 priority for all members of the UMHS community is to keep each other and our patients safe. In light of the recent tragedy at the Orlando nightclub, it’s more important than ever to remind people that security is everyone’s business.
“We have no information about any specific threat in our community, but we take safety and security seriously every day. We are always reinforcing the importance of vigilance to our colleagues. We talk about it extensively,” said Sgt. Gary Hicks of the U-M Police Department, who also serves as a community outreach supervisor.
The June 12 nightclub shooting in Orlando killed 49 victims and wounded dozens more. Within police and security circles, such incidents are called “active shooter” scenarios. U-M Police, like all police departments, train for them. There’s a U-M Public Safety website with specific information about what people should do in such a situation, and the department also gives occasional presentations on the topic around campus.
“If you’d like us to give a presentation in your area, we’d be happy to do that. The main thing to remember is that you have three options: run, hide or fight – in that order,” said Sgt. Hicks.
“But even more important than that, we want colleagues to call us so we can respond before a situation has an opportunity to become potentially dangerous,” he said.
In addition to the U-M Police Department, UMHS security has well-trained officials ready to help you in any scenario. The UMHS security office number is ext. 6-7890. When and why should you call? Aside from the obvious, such as when someone seems unusually agitated or angry, there are several things to watch for, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, unattended luggage or packages, an open window or door that is usually closed – these are just a few examples.
Eliciting information: Be wary of people with questions that go beyond mere curiosity, especially inquiries about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel or shift changes.
Observation/surveillance: Watch out for someone paying unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in non-public locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
“We can’t stress it enough: if you encounter someone or something that seems out of place or strange, say something,” Sgt. Hicks said. “You’re not bugging us. We want you to let us know.”