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Being ‘Proactive,’ Using Tech May Be New Ways To Approach Active Shooters On School Campuses

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — In the wake of the deadliest school shooting since the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, students and school officials are, once again, asking what students can do in the case of a shooter on campus, and the way law enforcement has approached these situations might be changing.

In cases like the one at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida Wednesday, where a gunman shot into five classrooms, the usual lockdown procedure might not be the ideal way to handle the emergency.

“If you move, if you get out of the area, I think your chances are safer,” Newport Police Officer Gary Clemente told CBS2 News.

Officer Clemente tells students and teachers at Corona del Mar High School to always try to get away if faced with similar circumstances.

“We want you to run out,” said Clemente. “Be proactive. We don’t want you to be reactive. We don’t want you to be passive. We want you to do something, and that depends on the scenario.”

“If it’s at the front of the school, it’s probably appropriate to run,” said Clemente, who has debriefed with survivors of shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine. He said that if the shooting happens outside of the classroom, seeking shelter and hiding in place is the better decision.

“The victim of Virginia Tech shared with me her classroom was the one that kept the door open and they all hid under the desk,” Clemente recalled. He said that classroom incurred the most casualties. By comparison, “the classrooms that locked the door and that ran away — the students jumped out of the windows — had a greater survival rate,” Clemente said.

Corona del Mar High has a safety system in place that uses computers and cell phones, whereby people can share information, identify where the threat is located and find victims.

“You could see where the students are hiding, where they’re safe and where they’re not safe,” said Vic Merjanian, CEO of Titan Health & Security Technologies.

“People who need help simply click on a button and help comes our way,” Merjanian said, demonstrating the app on a phone. “Administrators, security, police and emergency personnel are able to send lockdowns and broadcast instructions with one touch,” said Merjanian.

According to the FBI, the majority of active shooter incidents are over before law enforcement arrives.