University Credit Union in Miami wanted to move its active-shooter plan beyond strategy. That’s why the $260 million asset credit union turned to local police to set up an in-person training program.
“We wanted to provide a real-life, active-shooter training scenario that offered a deeper dive into what we already had in place within our policies pertaining to run, hide, and fight,” says Albert Rose CCE, executive vice president and chief operations officer. “Having a policy was only the first step. We asked local law enforcement if they would be willing to assist us with a more in depth first-aid training on what to do if we were ever faced with an active-shooter situation.”
University Credit Union has one of its four branch offices on the Florida International University main campus. The university ran an active-shooter drill, which required the campus branch team to participate and follow the active-shooter protocol.
Michael Welch Sr., CEO and president of University Credit Union, wanted to share this valuable training scenario with every employee.
The on-campus drill ultimately led the credit union to partner with Florida International University Campus Police and the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Special Threat Response Unit.
Since 2019, University Credit Union has held bi-annual active-shooter classroom training. The drills begin with a simulated breach of the branch facility, followed by a tactical response team assessing the situation and clearing the building of employees.
“This allowed us to run through the scenario and see if there were any gaps or weaknesses in our policy and approach,” Rose says. “You quickly realize your preconceived notions of what you thought you would do in an active-shooter scenario change when you're running through full action, real-life exercises.”
The training helps participants walk through some ancillary options. The special response team demonstrates basic, closed-quarter combat skills that could come in handy if running away or hiding isn’t feasible.
“Combating a threat is a last resort. Your first option, if available, is to find distance from the threat, follow your policy, and get to a safe place,” Rose says, noting the credit union encourages employees to share their experience with family and friends.
“We found our local law enforcement to be very receptive, as it allows their team to utilize new and unfamiliar premises for training. It keeps their skills sharpened and it helps your credit union team understand what they should be looking and listening for in the event an active-shooter situation was to happen on premises.”