Safety in a Time of Shootings

Written by on April 12, 2023

By Joshua Maley


Students walking on Montclair State University’s campus. Photo by Joshua Maley.

While students were relaxing over the recent spring break, the Montclair State University Police Department was practicing drills for an active shooter.
This is because of the steadily increasing number of mass shootings and threats that have been happening at schools and college campuses this year so far. MSU Police Chief Kieran Barrett spoke on why these drills were so important and how students and staff can remain safe if there were to be an active shooter.
“As someone that is a parent and a community member and also happens to work in law enforcement,” Barrett stated, “it is extremely disturbing to see this activity increase and to also know that there is not much being done at the federal level to combat this.”
Despite being the head of a police department, Barrett revealed that like most other American citizens, he too finds it, “…a bit unnerving that we look at things

A portrait of Chief Kieran Barrett, taken from the Montclair State University website.
retroactively rather than saying we can do something about this. It is a great concern that concerns me every day we come here.”
It becomes especially concerning as the weather is starting to improve on campus, meaning that a lot of students are choosing to spend their free time outside. While it is exciting and fun, it could also be dangerous.
There has been an increase in school events outside as well, which can create large crowds that can serve as easy targets for shooters.

Montclair State University students gather at a school event on campus. Photo by Joshua Maley.

These concerns only created a stronger determination to make sure the campus is as safe as possible. “For a long time, there weren’t many drills going on because of COVID-19, and we wanted to get back to the practice of doing active drills,” Barrett explained.
As for what the drills contained, Barrett said that, “all of the first responders involved on campus have to know where to go, how we operate, and the facilities… It also tested our communication with mock drills to make sure that messages would go out and that they were clear.”
There were more safety measures taken at the end of March with the administrators that would be involved during the aftermath of a shooting. “Our goal in the end is to engage the entire community in this process,” Barrett stated.
Barrett went on to say that, “…the drills went well. It made us feel better about what we can do and how we can respond.”
Chief Barrett also had ideas and advice on how to prevent a shooting from happening. “Being aware of our surroundings and reporting things is essentially one way that we can help prevent these situations.”
He continued on to say, “I think that at the federal level, there needs to be more of an effort to address the problem, such as control and some type of legislation that will help promote a safer environment.”
Barrett’s most important advice, in his opinion, is to trust the police department. “While you are living here,” he said, “this is your community and you have an obligation to report things for the safety of others… Know that we are being open, honest, and transparent when it comes to these situations and we are going to let you know what you need to do.”
His final words of advice were short but effective. “The simplest thing if this were to happen is that you need to run, hide, and fight.”




Tweet- Montclair State University’s Chief Barrett gives helpful and important advice on how to prevent and survive a school shooting. Read it here: (link)
Chief Kieran Barrett-