The LUPD offered a series of emergency preparedness presentations that were open to all faculty, staff and students, and which focused on active shooter scenarios. In these sessions, several questions came up in the discussions that followed the showing of a 20-minute film. We thought we’d share these questions and our responses with the entire campus community.
- How many officers are on duty at any given time?
Typically, there are six to eight officers in the daytime hours, and 12 to 13 at night, when more incidents involving our assistance tend to occur.
- What kind of support does the LUPD have from other emergency response organizations?
Depending on the situation, we can call on a number of outside agencies, including the Bethlehem Police Dept., the Bethlehem Fire Dept., the Pa. State Police, Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI.
- In an emergency situation, why don’t you recommend calling 911 first?
We recommend contacting the LUPD first at 610-758-4200 since we are in a position to respond quickly and we know the campus and all the locations where an incident can be occurring. If you call the 911 Center, they will take the information, ask for directions or addresses for your location, and then contact us to respond. The 911 Center may also be dealing with other emergencies in the area. It is quicker and more efficient to contact us initially so that we can get the site as soon as possible.
- How do I sign up for LU-Alerts or the EmergenSee safety app?
All the direct links are on the LUPD website, or the university’s emergency website at www.lehigh.edu/emergency, where you can read more about the tools we use to communicate in an emergency, and about safety precautions you can take. The direct link to sign up for LU-Alerts is http://www1.lehigh.edu/emergency/prepared/lualert.
- How can we come up with a plan for our office/building/residence hall/etc. in the event of an active shooter situation?
Contact the LUPD and we will send out a public safety officer to review your particular circumstance and make recommendations.
- What stance has Lehigh law enforcement taken on having people armed on campus?
Our position is that the responding officer or officers should be the only individuals who are armed. We don’t know what we are walking into, and we cannot deal with multiple armed individuals in an emergency situation. Even if you have a concealed weapons permit, it's illegal on this campus since we are a private institution.
7. When there is an active shooter and we lock our doors and we hide, will police be announcing who is there?
Yes, the officers who arrive on the scene will announce our presence and provide clear instructions. We want to emphasize: It is extremely important that you cooperate until we are able to contain the situation. It’s also important to note that the police officers will not stop to assist anyone who is wounded until the situation is under control. The LUPD asks you to place a sheet of paper on an exterior window to let us know what your room number is, and how many people are in that room. This information is very important in helping us know where everyone is, and in getting everyone out safely.
- What can we do for people who are wounded? Should we stay with them?
You should only stop to help the wounded if you can safely do so. They will be taken care of as soon as we can secure the location and make sure that the risk is contained. Other emergency response teams – including medical professionals – will also be on the scene. 9. How do we determine whether to hide or to run in an active shooter situation?
Every situation is different, so you have to make that call based on the circumstances you are in. One way to help is to prepare and plan for an emergency of this nature. The LUPD can come to your office/residence hall/academic building or worksite to help you devise a plan based on your location, number of exits and other factors. You can also be prepared by scheduling an active shooter safety presentation for your group by going to https://police.lehigh.edu/content/programs-and-resources.
Chief Jason Schiffer
Assistant Chief Christopher Houtz
Lehigh University Police Department