Editor's Note: The Puck Stops Here

March 15, 2019
Why integrators should be deeply involved in active shooter defense training

It is amazing how easily a sensational headline can grab you. Here’s a recent one from SecurityInfoWatch.com that easily got my attention:

Faculty at Michigan University Armed with Hockey Pucks for Active Shooter Defense

How easily the vision of a professor, hiding behind a desk, ready to hurl a puck fastball at someone’s head, comes to mind. And of course, once the absurdity of that vision takes over...maybe you laugh, maybe you cry.

Either way, you probably were thankful that you aren’t that Michigan university’s security integrator of record. It seems they might be in need of a trusted security advisor.

Let me backpedal here for a minute. According to the article, the American Association of University Professors supplied hockey pucks to about 800 of its union members at Oakland University. A local television news station also reported that the union is working with student organizations to distribute about 1,700 of the hockey pucks to students.

Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon told the television station that his department will hold training sessions on how to use hockey pucks or other solid objects to try and stop an active shooter.

It actuality, the pucks aren’t a horrible idea – just unusual it its execution. Two years ago, I interviewed Shawn Reilly, a former security director who is now in charge of security training program development for Atlanta-based integrator Tech Systems. He spearheads the company’s active shooter training classes for end-users. He walked me through one of his typical active shooter training scenarios:

“I have someone come into a room with a NERF gun, everyone hides under their desk, and he just methodically shoots everyone,” Reilly explained as part of our March 2017 cover story. “Next, I send the ‘shooter’ out of the room and this time I give everyone under the desks foam balls and I tell them to throw them at him. When the people throw their balls, the shooter is flinching and he is much less accurate.”

So, it seems those folks in Michigan weren’t so unusual after all. But perhaps the most important part of the article is buried way down at the bottom: “The union is hoping the pucks can help bolster a fundraising campaign for (classroom) door locks. Each (puck) has an ID number for voluntary donations to the campaign.”

 Sounds like they are in need of a good integrator after all – not only one who can recommend and install those locks, but also one who can help secure the funding for them without asking for donations via hockey puck. Once those locks are in place, odds are they will need that trusted integrator to help with the active shooter training to tie it all together.

If you are looking for more active shooter mitigation strategies, I would encourage you to attend the upcoming SecurityInfoWatch webinar on the topic, hosted by security experts Gerald Wilkins and Paul Timm. The live broadcast is on March 14, but you can catch the archived version (and earn CEUs) by registering at www.securityinfowatch.com/webinars

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.