LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Tuesday, Niagara University joined forces with local law enforcement and first responders to test their response if an active shooter ever came on campus.
“It’s a good test to make sure we’re all on the same page, which we are,” said Chief Frank Previte of Lewiston Police. “This is the opportunity we have today to do that to make sure our tactics are the same and each knows what we’re doing because this is the response you are going to get.”
Lewiston Police, Lewiston Fire and EMS, Border Patrol, State Troopers all took part in the practice at the school, as dozens of students and staff volunteered to act out the scenario.
“To have those partnerships and to be able to do an exercise like this on our campus, will just strengthen our emergency plans and help ensure the safety of our campus,” said Tom Burn, Associate Vice President of Public Relations of Niagara University. “You can’t replicate everything, obviously our law enforcement know that and that’s why it’s great to partner with them to look at all the different options to look at the things that could happen on our campus.”
The University has been practicing emergency response drills for over a decade now, however, this is the first time all departments came together for a drill of this size, for an active shooter scenario.
“It definitely makes me feel safer, that people are thinking about it, and are taking steps to make sure everybody on campus is safe,” said Anna Schultz, a junior at Niagara University. “Everything we’ve been seeing, I would like to know that people are thinking about it and taking initiative to try and see what they would do in that situation–it’s kind of helpful to see what I would do in that situation.”
Dozens of students and staff took a part in the drill and some told me after that this helped them feel more confident on the response if this were to really happen.
“These happen all across the country all the time, maybe not all the time but enough to where it’s a bit of a worry for college students like us,” said Deeken Frost, a junior at Niagara University that volunteered in the drill. “I feel a lot more confident now that police actually had a run through. They had multiple organizations here, state troopers, border patrol, and local law enforcement, to know that they can all work together and achieve the same outcome, it feels really good.”
The college and local law enforcement finished the drill by running through what worked, and what didn’t–to prepare for the best response if an active shooter situation would occur in the future.
Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.