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Mandatory active shooter training to instruct how to avoid, deny, defend

Published on Monday, April 2, 2018

By: Bruce Coleman

In response to recent active shooter-related incidents across the country, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has mandated all state employees - including Medical Center faculty and staff - complete a workplace violence and active shooter training course by Friday, June 1.

According to Executive Order 1411, signed by Bryant on Dec. 19, 2017, “all employees of the State of Mississippi shall complete the Active Shooter Situations: What Should You Do? Training Course.”

Offered by the Mississippi State Personnel Board, the course will be administered to UMMC employees through Healthstream and to all UMMC students through Canvas.

Portrait of Jonathan Wilson

The Medical Center will transition its established “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol to the new training course’s “Avoid, Deny, Defend” procedure to comply with the governor’s order, said Dr. Jonathan Wilson, chief administrative officer.

“The strategies and tactics are the same, but the nomenclature has changed to be consistent with other state entities,” Wilson said. “If something happens, we want our employees and students to get away from the threat as quickly as possible and allow law enforcement to do their work.

“It’s an effort to minimize harm as best we can.”

The training is scheduled to go live on Wednesday, April 4, and be available through Wednesday, May 23.


Jason Smith, manager of emergency services, said UMMC employees will complete a short quiz and students will affirm their completion of the training by signing an electronic attestation statement.

“Although the governor’s order only mentions state employees must complete the training, we are going a step further by educating our students as well,” Smith said.

As the state’s largest health sciences campus, UMMC presents a unique location to keep secure, Wilson said.

“We have research laboratories, we have academic classrooms and student spaces, and we have a full health system – adult and pediatric,” he said. “Any one of those would present unique aspects (for security), but we have all three on one campus.

“We are very fortunate to have our own police department that is specially trained and equipped to deal with this type of threat.”


UMMC Police Chief Michael Stamps said employees and students should be alert at all times and should keep a watchful eye for any suspicious activity on campus.

“A big component to our training is ‘See something, say something,’” Stamps said. “Increased awareness of their surroundings for every student and faculty member is important. If they see something that seems out of place, we urge them to say something – refer it to Campus Police or to their supervisor.”

Wilson said active shooter training is a necessary part of campus life today.

“It is unfortunate, but in this day and age, with these kind of incidents becoming more frequent, we have to make sure our students, employees and faculty have the training and education to know how best to deal with these type circumstances,” he said. “We will continue from a security and law enforcement angle to protect our campus, but we can’t do it without the support of a well-trained workforce and student body.”

Click here to see the governor’s executive order.