CRASE teaches civilians how to respond to dangerous situations

Josh Harville jharville@empiretribune.com
Patrol Sergeant Clell Murray and Police Chief Matt Welch head the CRASE course offered by Tarleton State University's Police Department.

In light of the many recent shootings across the country, the Tarleton State University Police Department has organized a class that educates individuals on how to handle extreme situations, particularly an active shooter scenario.

TSU Police Chief Matt Welch and Patrol Sergeant Clell Murray head up the CRASE classes, which stands for civilian response to active shooter events. The class is not limited to TSU but through the university police department’s community outreach initiative, the department is willing and eager to teach the class to any local school districts and businesses.

In a combined Q&A, Welch and Murray give details about CRASE and other relevant information pertaining to the class and status of TSU and the community.

Q. What is CRASE?

CRASE is a train-the-trainer course designed to increase community awareness on the most effective ways for civilians to respond to an active shooter situation. The four-hour course is presented as a public service by law enforcement officers and agencies to schools, businesses, hospitals, places of worship and other community groups.

CRASE prepares civilians for an active shooter event as well as for what to expect from responding law enforcement officers. The overall goal is to make their own presentations. Course material is straightforward and easy to understand.

CRASE is only one of several safety training programs offered by Tarleton’s University Police. We take pride in keeping our students, staff and faculty as safe as possible. In addition to CRASE, we offer R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) training as well as general crime prevention classes.

Sgt. Clell Murray is available to teach the CRASE course to local schools and businesses free of charge.

Q. How does CRASE help Tarleton?

As more people understand how to properly deal with an active shooter event, more lives will be saved. Tarleton is committed to the safety and well-being of its students, faculty and staff, and we work hand-in-hand with Stephenville law enforcement officers to protect our community. With increased knowledge and training, individuals can protect themselves and reduce the dangers that come with an active shooter event.

Q. What is taught?

The course is built on the avoid, deny, defend strategy created in 2004 by ALERRT (advanced law enforcement rapid response training).

A - Avoid danger. This is the preferred option when dealing with an active shooter situation and begins with awareness of your environment prior to any active, hostile act occurring. It also includes having a plan ahead of time regarding what you would do in the event of an active shooter and knowing escape routes.

D - Deny access. If avoidance isn’t possible, find ways to prevent the attacker from having access to you and others around you. (Close/lock doors, barricade doorways with furniture, etc.).

D - Defend yourself. Take action. As a last resort, people have a right to defend themselves if they believe their lives are in imminent danger. It is important to remember that there are ways to stop the threats created by an active shooter without the use of a weapon. CRASE provides several alternatives.

Q. How prepared is Tarleton for an active shooter situation?

Because the safety of our students, faculty and staff is first and foremost at Tarleton, our police officers receive the latest, hands-on, advanced law enforcement training available. That includes active shooter training. Four officers attended updated training this summer in San Antonio hosted by the Texas A&M University System. Ten of our officers are trained and proficient with the AR15 rifle.

Last fall, we joined with other Tarleton departments for a mass-casualty training exercise here on the Stephenville campus. While the exercise centered on the possible devastation caused by a tornado, it included the opportunity to review and practice the same principle of victim treatment and command structure that we’d use in an active shooter situation.

Additionally, two FBI agents are dedicated to help North Texas universities in the event of any type of disaster or calamity. This includes an active shooter event.

Q. How does this work with the gun control laws pertaining to campus?

CRASE does not address the legalities of firearms.

For more information, visit www.tarleton.edu/police or call Murray at 968-9452 or email cmurray@tarleton.edu.