Oakland Post: OUPD hosts active shooter workshop

Posted: June 16, 2016
By: John Bozick (Oakland Post)

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Photos by Grace Turner

In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, Oakland University Chief of Police, Mark Gordon, taught faculty and students what to do in case of a shooting on campus on June 15. The program, which was requested by Channel 4 News, saw a little over 40 people attend.

Gordon believes that the more people are made aware of how to handle a shooting, the more likely they will be able to survive an attack by a gunman.

“The number one thing that kills people in a shooting is denial,” he said.

Someone who is in denial will begin to say things like, “I can’t believe this happening.” Instead of protecting themselves, they will begin to panic.

During the program, those in attendance were taught the three methods of survival: get out, hide out and take out.

The main plan should be to get out; students should call 911 and seek the safest way out of the building and off campus. The best thing to do is to keep moving, according to Gordon. This makes you a much harder target for the gunman. However, this is not always an option.

The hide out method should be used when students have no way of escape. They should find a safe and secure place to hide and should remain in the dark and away from windows through which the shooter may see them.

Those in a crisis should never leave, even if they hear a fire alarm, as many times a shooter will pull the fire alarm in an effort to draw those in the buildings out of hiding, Gordon said.

Gordon believes that unless you can clearly tell you are in harm’s way, you should never move from somewhere that is safe unless told to do so by the correct authorities.

The most important thing taught by Gordon was how to fight back against a shooter. This is known as the take out method. Those trapped in a room by a gunman should use anything as a weapon, including chairs, notebooks, or even pens and pencils to distract a shooter. Various items around the room should be thrown at the assailant to distract him long enough so that he can be tackled by a group.

Gordon stated, “Your survival rate increases tremendously if you stand up and fight the shooter.”

Gordon and Channel 4 had those in attendance act out a mock shooting where balloons were used to simulate gunshots, and a man armed with a plastic gun tried to enter the room. Those in the room were given plastic balls to throw at the fake shooter, while one student took it upon himself to tackle the “gunman.”

After the first drill, another one was conducted in which those in the room had to barricade the door in an effort to stop the shooter. In both drills, all those involved were advised to stay away from the door and try to hide until the shooter entered the room.

During any emergency situation, OU students are advised to text the emergency alert system. Students can sign up for it by sending OUPD to MRAVE or 67283. The OUPD’s emergency alert text system is the main way through which they will let students know if they are safe during an active shooting.

These presentations are available upon request to groups all over campus, with many members of the OUPD taking part in them. Hopefully, with enough training, OU students will be more than prepared if a situation like Virginia Tech were to occur on campus.


Oakland Post: Liaison Office expands, offers full-time service

Posted: January 19. 2016
By Jake Smith (Oakland Post)

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Starting next year, the OUPD Liaison Office will become a full-time resource.

The office, located on the first floor of Vandenberg Hall, provides new opportunities for Oakland students to utilize the services of the university’s police department. They will also offer some new resources catered directly to the needs of residents.

“The safety of Oakland University is a community responsibility and one goal I have as the chief of the police department is to create partnerships with OU students, staff and faculty,” Mark Gordon, Oakland University Police Department Chief, said.

The office is currently staffed part-time by a rotating cycle of OUPD officers for about ten to twelve hours a week.

Starting in the fall, there will be one dedicated officer filling in the position full-time. During the office hours, students can drop in to become more familiar with OUPD and the services they offer, ask questions or report an incident that occurred in the residence halls.

“The primary responsibility of the liaison position will be to build community relationships,” Gordon said. “Students can stop by and just get to know the liaison officer so he becomes a familiar face on campus.”

The liaison officer will be exclusively available to respond to criminal incidents in the residence halls, as well as to investigate all criminal complaints associated with Oakland University students living on campus. They will also promote educational presentations and arrange for the appropriate police staff to present information on various topics throughout the school year.

The liaison officer is fully sworn in, as well as the rest of the Oakland University Police Department. This means that they are just as effective as the Rochester or Auburn Hills police departments but are here to serve our campus. The liaison officer will show up at many student activities and events, and be there to support student life as a whole.

“The liaison officer will have the flexibility to initiate programs and partner with student groups to further promote safety and security of students and the entire community,” Gordon said. “It’s an open-ended project, it’s here to provide services directly to Oakland Residents and we’re always open to suggestions.”

OUPD offers all of the services of a normal police station and more to cater directly to the Oakland University student population.

Creating a functional liaison office provides students with an accessible resource so that they can ask questions, get support and ultimately feel safe during their time here on campus.

For more information on the liaison office and OUPD, visit oupolice.com.


Oakland Post: OUPD participates in Shop With A Hero program

Posted: December 18, 2015
By Nowshin Chowdhury (Oakland Post)

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With the holidays just around the corner, Oakland University Police Department partnered with Lake Orion Police Department to become heroes to local kids in need. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, OUPD, LOPD, Romeo Police Department, FBI, U.S. Army 1775th and 1776th Military Police Units, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Border Patrol participated in the Shop With A Hero Program at the Target in Auburn Hills.

The heroes were paired with specific children, had pizza together and took the kids shopping for toys and accessories around Target. Each child was given up to $100 to spend. There were approximately 75 kids and 55 heroes.

This was the second year OUPD has been a part of the program. The Shop With A Hero program started in Lake Orion nine years ago with LOPD. OUPD officers Reed Brown and Larry Dugan were former LOPD officers who participated in the program before and mentioned their experience to OUPD, getting the rest of the department involved.

Lieutenant Nicole Thompson and Officers Mike Beale and Reed Brown attended the event. This was Thompson’s first year participating in the program.

“It was such an amazing experience and I was honored to be able to be a part of it and give back to these kids. It is also beneficial for these kids to be able to interact with police officers in a positive way. This allows them to see that not everything negative that they see on TV about police officers is true,” Thompson said.

Some of the items purchased included Minecraft items, books, clothes and shoes.

“The child I was paired with taught me all about Minecraft. He is such a great kid and was so thoughtful and appreciative and purchased items for his family as well,” Thompson said.

Officer Beale purchased a tablet, pillow, soccer ball and a 12-pack of Coke with the child with whom he was paired.

Officer Brown participated last year and spent time with Blake, who got to shop with him again this year. The two purchased superhero masks, costumes and movies for this year’s holiday.

“It was extremely special that I got to shop with the same kid from last year. Blake was so excited for this event that he wore a police costume all day,” Brown said.

For more information on the program or to nominate a local family or child in need, contact LOPD at police@lakeorion.org. Donations are payable to LOPD at Lake Orion Police Department, 21 E. Church St., Lake Orion, MI 48362.


Oakland Post: Mobile app establishes virtual buddy system

Posted: September 29, 2015
By Shelby Tankersley (Oakland Post)

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It isn’t exactly breaking news that sexual assault is a problem in today’s culture. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, every 107 seconds, an American is a victim of such attacks.

80% of those victims are under the age of 30, like most college students. OU is not exempt from this problem. Just earlier this month the campus had its own run in with a sexual assault.

To help keep this campus a safe one, OUSC teamed up with OUPD and the app Companion in order to provide students with a way to stay safe. OUSC is leading a campaign to make the campus safer, and this app is part of that initiative.

What does Companion do?

Essentially, Companion makes it so you never have to walk alone if you don’t want to.

“OUSC’s goal with this is to give personal safety back to the individual that is at risk,” Samuel Abbott, OUSC’s student services director, said. “Companion allows the student pick someone to watch them walk and gives them the opportunity to contact OUPD in a more user friendly way, they can do it with a one touch system.”

Abbott also mentioned a one touch system that allows the user to contact OUPD directly.

“They have an ‘I feel nervous’ button which will allow OUPD to pick parts of campus that can be considered at risk for students,” Abbott said. “I feel nervous” will send your location to OUPD, so they know where you are.

“The ‘call OUPD’ button makes it easier to contact the police.” Abbott said.

 Companion also offers a map of the campus, which can be helpful for visitors or new Grizzlies.

Why use it?

“We want our students to have a plan in place before they need a plan,” Ken Kiley, the director of police information technology for OUPD, said. “If they know what to do ahead of time, then they don’t have to figure out what to do when a situation arises.”

After all, OUPD is on campus in order to help OU students stay safe. Kiley said this app is another way for them to do that. Along with that, this app is convenient for the students.

“It’s great that the app offers a virtual buddy system, which is something the police have recommended for years,” Kiley said.  “It’s great to have a buddy with you when you walk around campus.”

OU is a fairly safe campus, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so keep a companion around, whether or not it is in app form.

If apps aren’t your thing or you don’t have a smart phone, OUPD offers a range of services to keep students safe. That information can be found at oupolice.com.