RICHMOND, Va. – If you notice a large police presence on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus Thursday, August 3, don’t be alarmed. VCU police, with local, state and federal partners will conduct an active shooter training exercise throughout the morning and afternoon.
The training exercises will be held inside the University Student Commons, located at 907 Floyd Avenue, starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.
“These exercises will be realistic, with simulated sounds inside the building, including gunfire and crowd panic. This training gives police the opportunity to practice a coordinated response to a VCU building with local, state and federal law enforcement partners,” VCU said in a statement.
VCU says they will send more than 50,000 text messages to VCU Alert subscribers to increase awareness about the exercise.
In advance of the exercise, the university will also send a mass email to neighborhood organizations and area businesses to increase awareness about the training exercise.
The student commons will be closed to the public during the training and will reopen at 3 p.m. The area of training will be marked with signs and security officers will be on-site to answer questions and direct pedestrian traffic.
Chief John Venuti/VCU Police
"The staff that participates in this exercise never walk out and go, 'Wow! We did the best job," VCU Police Chief John Venuti said. "I think it's a learning experience and we continue to expose them to the unknown, because that's technically what they would be up against."
In case of an active shooter, Chief Venuti reminded that they teach the "run, hide, and fight" technique. Your best defense is to evacuate the building first when possible, conceal yourself from the shooter, and if at all possible, "act with physical aggression."
Venuti said with the "fight" aspect of the technique using fire hydrants and even chairs in large groups can deter an attacker.
VCU faculty, staff, students and visitors should note:
Parking restrictions will be in place on the 900 block of West Main Street. North Cherry Street, between Floyd Avenue and West Main Street, will be closed to vehicular traffic. Due to the number of participating agencies, there will be a heavy law enforcement presence in the area.