Class prepares you to handle emergency

Published 03/20 2013 03:50PM

Updated 03/20 2013 06:35PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Officers are teaching people how to handle an "active shooter" situation. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more.

The training is important in light of recent shootings the past few years. Most times, the situation ends when police arrive. That's why officers want to teach people what to do during the time before they arrive when no one else is there to protect them.

"They don't see you as human beings. They see you as targets," said University of Illinois Police Sgt. Aaron Landers.

"It's not scary to me," said University of Illinois instructor Dawn Bohn. "It's just I don't feel prepared. That's the bigger thing."

Bohn has been teaching at UI for six years -- sometimes more than 600 students at a time. So if a shooter comes into her classroom, she wants to have a plan.

"Of course you want to save everyone, but the reality is, you can't," said Bohn. "So what is going to minimize the risk against what could potentially happen?"

"These things may happen to you," said Landers. "I just want you to be aware of it."

UI police officers started teaching the class a few years ago, but said it's been more popular lately, especially after December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We've done more since January than we have in the last four or five years," said University of Illinois Police officer Brian Tison.

The first part focuses on mental health issues which could help people spot potential problems before a situation takes a turn for the worse.

"If you have people in your area acting suspicious or strange, you need to call the police and you need to take action," said Landers. 

The second section centers on what to do if a shooter shows up where you are. It includes planning how to hide or protect yourself. These are all skills officers wish they didn't have to teach.

"In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to do this, but that's not where we live," said Tison.

We all know what to do if a fire alarm goes off because we've been practicing that since we were young. So this is the same idea: to train people so they know exactly how to respond if something does happen.

The four-hour class is taught by UI Police. It's free. New sessions will be scheduled in the next few months. Officers said they like to have at least 15 people for each session.

Find more information, email Sgt. Landers at or contact University Police at (217) 333 - 1216. You can also click here.

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