Researchers analyze school shootings in effort to strengthen campus safety

Researchers analyze school shootings in effort to strengthen campus safety
IUS Police Chief Charles Edelen (Source: WAVE 3 News)
IUS Police Chief Charles Edelen (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) – Researchers are hoping a computer model analyzing the behavior and movements of people committing school shootings will help universities prepare and in turn save lives.

The model, made by researchers at Purdue University, also allows police to review actions taken during previous school shootings.

According to WAVE's NBC affiliate in Indianapolis WTHR, in the worst case an officer arrives 11 minutes after the call.

"It's showing 14 people were shot," said Purdue graduate student Adam Kirby referring to the computer model two researchers built.

Being able to visualize what went right and what did not is something many area college campuses that are always looking for new ways to protect students would welcome.

Researchers found having police officers on campus saved lives. The closer the officer the more likely the victim count drops.

That's something Indiana University Southeast Police Chief Charles Edelen knows well. With 13 officers on staff, the small university is well prepared for emergencies. Not to mention new cameras, a new fire alarm voice notification system and notifications through texts, emails, social media and video bulletin boards located throughout campus.

Twice in the last year, IUS had a report of a gunman on campus.

The first came in December, when someone brought a BB gun to school for a play.

"There was a little bit of a delay notifying the other departments," Edelen said of the situation. "There was a little bit of confusion from those departments when they got here on where to go on campus."

The second incident came Thursday, Sept. 11, when one student and a camera near the front doors at University Center spotted what appeared to be a rifle coming out of a student's backpack. The school went on lockdown. Luckily, it turned out the object was just an umbrella.

"I'd like to see the emergency notification go out just a little quicker," Edelen said, "I think there are errors there and we can cut down on the time."

From the call to lockdown to clearing the threat, the police department handled the entire situation safely in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Still, no matter how prepared or lucky they've been, Edelen says they welcome the new research and all new ways to keep students safe. Next on their list, SWAT team members will tour the IUS campus as the school continues its ongoing security preparation.

As for the Purdue research model, researchers are hoping a federal grant will make the information available to any school that wants it.

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