Baylor portrays active attacker drills in new safety video

By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer, Video by BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor’s new Active Attack Training Video portrays a shooting on campus to illustrate proper safety procedures to follow during an active attacker situation.

Released Thursday morning, the video describes the Avoid Deny Defend procedure to follow in the event of an attack. Avoid the threat and try to escape, deny the attacker access by barricading doors and hiding when escape isn’t viable, and defend aggressively as a last resort.

Mark Childers, associate vice president of Baylor’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), wants the Baylor community to know what to do in an active attacker situation. Childers said knowing how to identify and respond to an attack is the best way to survive.

“It’s really about heightened situation awareness—that’s the message,” Childers said. “You have control to a certain extent over your situation… if you’re put in these situations whether you’re at Baylor or you’re at home on break or you’re studying abroad… the basic principles of avoid, deny, defend are [the consistently] best practice.”

In an introductory video posted Wednesday, Baylor president Dr. Linda Livingstone said the safety of the Baylor community is of “utmost importance” and cited the mass shootings of recent years as a reason to educate students, faculty and staff in how to respond to an active attacker.

Livingstone also expressed hope that a similar tragedy will never occur at Baylor.

“Our prayer is that we should never have to deploy the skills and lessons outlined in the video, but if we must, that you be prepared and confident in your response,” Livingstone said.

Baylor produced the video to engage viewers in a way normal safety courses can’t, an approach Childers said should resonate with the Baylor community.

“We thought that [the video] was the best method to communicate with the community we serve,” Childers said. “I think you get more out of the video in six minutes and 33 seconds then you probably do from… having an instructor stand in the room for an hour or two or three… visual learning is very important.”

Childers also described the video as “intentionally personalized” and “very Baylor” to emphasize the importance of the safety procedures it demonstrates.

Before joining Baylor DPS in 2014, Childers worked as a Secret Service agent, including eight years on President George W. Bush’s security detail. Childers strives to maintain the high standards and intensity from the Secret Service at Baylor DPS, and he believes educating the community plays a part in reaching that goal.

“I now have 18,000 presidents I have to protect,” Childers said. “If one student, faculty or staff gets injured, I feel like we failed.”

If Lufkin senior Sutton Lowe is any indication, the training video is doing its job.

“I felt a sense of brokenness—not about Baylor and not about myself, but the fact that things like this happen every day,” Lowe said. “I saw a lot of people that I actually know in the video so that was a way of feeling personally connected to it.”

In Thursday’s email announcing the video’s release, Baylor encouraged any students distressed by its content to contact the Baylor Counseling Center or pastoral care in the office of Spiritual Life.