“It’s unfortunate we have to discuss a subject of this nature, but the University of North Alabama Public Safety believes our teachers safety and the safety of their students are one of the most important responsibilities we face,” said Terry Parker, an ALICE instructors for the UNA Public Safety Training Institute. “‘ALICE’ is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The main objective of the program is to provide the students and staff with options to increase their chance of survival during an “Active Shooter on Campus” emergency.”
The “ALICE” program is designed to supplement current “lockdown” procedures used frequently in our public schools and workplaces as a stand-alone defensive strategy for an active shooter event. Where the traditional lockdown response is passive in nature (lock doors, turn out lights and wait for help), the “ALICE” program is considered a more aggressive response.
The “ALICE” program is being recognized across the country as an additional component to the traditional “lockdown” response to an “active shooter on campus” emergency. Colleges, high schools and elementary schools are adopting this program and numerous campuses across the country are sending their police and security personnel to be trained in the “ALICE” program.
Sergeant Tommy Hood, the training officer for the Jasper Police Department, said Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe has stressed the importance of school safety from day one.
“Chief Rowe is also sending an officer to active shooter instructor school in order to train our entire department on different ways to respond to a critical incident,” Hood said. “Keeping our children safe is our department’s first priority.”
Hood said the entire Jasper Board of Education, from Superintendent Dr. Robert Sparkman, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jean Lollar, along with every principal and teacher, have went above and beyond in allowing the Jasper Police Department’s Critical Incident Response Team to train in every school.
“And we, the members of the JPD Critical Incident Response Team, will do everything within our power to keep our schools and children safe,” Hood added.
Parker said the events on school campuses over the past 10 to 15 years have shown that the “lockdown” system is insufficient in protecting our youth and the concept of “it could never happen here” is a myth.
“Tragic events in schools and workplaces have dictated the need for enhanced options to be provided to staff and students to increase their chances of surviving a horrific event,” Parker said. “Because after all, the true first responders in an ‘active shooter’ situation are the students and staff at that school or the workers in that office.”
ALICE is a highly effective “common sense” training that is being readily adopted by many private businesses, educational and law enforcement institutions and other social organizations throughout the United States who realize they need education on this topic.
“Preparation is key for any situation we face in life, the more prepared we are the better we perform. But hopefully the faculty and staff who attended the training this week from the Jasper Board of Education will never have to use the information they learned,” Parker said. “But should a situation arise in a classroom or in an office, they will have an idea of what they can do to increase their survivability.”