Active shooter drill tests the readiness of SC State students - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Active shooter drill tests the readiness of SC State students

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As we continue to see heartbreaking images of extreme violence at schools and college campuses around the country, local and campus police officers at South Carolina State University are making sure students and faculty know what to do.

It may seem there are few places safe from the threat of violence these days as images from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year are a chilling reminder of that, but there are takeaways from the tragedy. That's why SC State performed an active shooter drill on Tuesday.

"We have a plan," said Mernard Clarkson, interim chief of the SC State Police Department. "We wanted to shock your conscience, so when it happens you're reacting."

Students and faculty were expecting the active shooter drill, but not all knew what to do.

"I'd probably hide, maybe run," said senior Breana Blackwood. "I don't know. I'd be so scared."

Chief Clarkson says sirens would go off around campus, alerting students to stay put or get to a safe place.

"If you're on the outside, you want to find shelter or find cover," said Clarkson.

Tuesday's drill wasn't perfect, as many were unaware of what was happening and how to respond. Most university protocol for emergency situations depends largely on electronic alerts.

"We'll try to get the students to sign up for the E2 text messaging system that will immediately alert them if there's an incident going on," said Clarkson.

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