Knowing Before It Happens: Active Shooter Training Held on Campus 

Michael Peterson educates the audience in Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room on active shooter readiness. Photo by Brianna Gleghorn/The Jambar

By Brianna Gleghorn

Identifying the warning signs on campus of a possible active shooter and knowing what to do in the event of a shooting can mean the difference between life or death. 

Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room was filled with students, faculty and community members for two active shooter training sessions on Oct. 28 at Youngstown State University.

The presentations focused on preparing for an active shooter situation, whether it be on or off campus, and how to prevent it.

Michael Peterson, YSU Board of Trustees member and former director of global investigations and security services for Goodyear, conducted the training sessions and educated the audience about safety techniques.

Peterson, a global security expert, said places where there has been an active shooter did not have a prior incident, so people cannot predict workplace violence. 

“You can say nothing will happen, but you just don’t know,” Peterson said. 

He said the presentations were not only to inform the audience on what to do if they encounter an active shooter but also how to prevent the situation from happening. 

“Identifying signs or concerns or red flags,” Peterson said. “Making sure that if you see something, say something, those are the things that are important to minimize that risk.”

Michael Peterson educates the audience in Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room on active shooter readiness. Photo by Brianna Gleghorn/The Jambar

He said the skills given during the presentations are important not only for students but also for audience members living in Youngstown.

“This is a way to educate not just the YSU students and faculty but the community as a whole,” Peterson said. “So, the great thing about this is when you leave here you can take these lessons and things that we talked about today and apply them in any … venue.” 

Peterson told the audience that with the excessive amount of mass shootings, data can be used from previous shootings to prevent them in the future and learn what steps to take if the situation were to occur again.

“Unfortunately, because of the amount of shootings we’ve had, there’s tons of data,” he said. “It gives us a good idea of how to react and the best way to survive.”

William Rogner, YSU’s campus safety and emergency management officer, said active shooter training is to “get you thinking about the safety aspect.”

“It’s not only for campus,” Rogner said. “Whether you’re in Giant Eagle or Walmart, it’s not just for the campus, it’s for everywhere you are.”

Madison Perez, a freshman nursing major, said she attended the training session as part of her first year experience course.

After looking at the different sessions to attend, the title “Active Shooter: Educating the Public to be Prepared” caught her attention. 

“I wanted to hear what he had to say about it and know how to be aware in those situations and how to handle it and what to do,” Perez said.

According to Perez, the presentation helped the audience understand what actions to take in a high-stress situation.

“Shootings are such a big thing,” Perez said. “I feel like it can cause a panic, and sometimes people don’t know how to react to, like, a high-panic situation.”

Jackie LeViseur, director of the Office of Alumni and Events at YSU, said it’s better to be prepared for an emergency situation if it arises on campus. 

“You never know if it will happen to you,” LeViseur said. “It’s all about being prepared.”