|UC SWAT drill insensitive|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Monday, 17 September 2012 10:37|
Last week, University of Cincinnati students were in for a surprise as one of their abandoned buildings was used for a SWAT team drill. Complete with real, yet unloaded weapons, gear and a large truck, the team conducted a “search and room entry” drill in Williams Memorial Hall, which has been empty for years.Students at UC were not told beforehand to expect SWAT team members on campus, especially carrying what looked like real guns and equipment. One unidentified student filmed the event as he was walking to class and said the whole scene was very surreal because it was not clear as to why these men and women were on campus. Preliminary reports from students claimed it was a raid, rather than a drill, because of the confusing nature of the situation.
Overall, the biggest mistake the SWAT team and university made was not informing students about the drill. According to the spokesman for the university, the drill occurred without student knowledge. However, he denied knowledge of the raid initially.
If something similar to this happened at ISU, students would be asking the same questions as the UC students. No students were involved in the raid, but it clearly provoked some distress from students who witnessed it. Not knowing why a SWAT team is going through an abandoned building on campus would be unnerving and scary for some.
The only good elements of this drill were the professionalism of the team and the fact that they are training in real locations. Rather than a classroom, they are learning in real-world situations how to complete searches and translate that knowledge to a similar setting.
Regardless, the lack of knowledge the students received is unacceptable. With so many recent stories of school shootings and bomb threats on campuses, seeing a SWAT team while you are walking to class is not exactly the best way to start your day.
In the future, SWAT teams and other law enforcement officers should be working with universities for a more transparent method of informing students of potential drills. The drill itself posed no threat to students, but not knowing about it did. It was more poorly planned and managed rather than maliciously intended.
Another idea for future drills on any college campus is to have them over the summer when there are hardly as many students on campus than in the fall. Also, even a simple sign nearby stating “Training in Progress” would have been better than nothing.
More and more students have been becoming aware of the increased dangers on campuses. Armed robberies, assaults and many other types of crimes can occur at any time, so it is important that our law enforcement is appropriately trained to meet these challenges anywhere. But, the lack of warning beforehand did not help students understand the SWAT team’s purpose on campus that day.