Active Shooter

CSU policeAn active shooter is a person or person(s) who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people, most often in populated areas. In most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases, active shooters use improvised explosive devices to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency service responders. These improvised explosive devices may detonate immediately, have delayed detonation fuses, or may detonate on contact. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response by the community and immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent further harm to the community. This document provides guidance to faculty, staff, students, and visitors who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and describes what to expect from responding law enforcement officers. Be aware that the CSU PD system may become overwhelmed.



In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and call CSU PD X-2111 as soon as possible.

If an active shooter is outside your building or inside the building you are in, you should:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter.
  • Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Close the blinds.
  • Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound.
  • Keep yourself out of sight, stay away from windows and take adequate cover/protection, i e., (concrete walls, thick desks, file cabinets).
  • Silence cell phones.
  • Have one person call X-2111 and provide:
    1. We have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired.
    2. If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person’s(s) sex, race clothing, type of weapon(s), location last observed, direction of travel, and identity if known.
    3. If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.
    4. If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location observed and a description.
    5. If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.
    • Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer, or a university official known to you, provides an "all clear”.
    • Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety. Do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer or university official.
    • Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area.
    • Depending on circumstances, consideration may also be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter.
  • If there is no possibility of escape or hiding, only as a last resort, when it is imminent that your life is in danger, should you attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s).
  • Call CSU PD X-2111, if possible, and provide the information listed in the first guideline.
  • If the active shooter(s) leaves the area, lock and/or barricade the room or proceed to a safer location. If you are outside and encounter an active shooter, you should:
    1. Try to remain calm.
    2. Move away from the active shooter or the sounds of gunshots and/or explosions.
    3. Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection, i.e., brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop a bullet penetration.
    4. Try to warn other faculty, staff, students, and visitors to take immediate shelter.
    5. Call CSU PD X-2111 and provide the information listed in the first guideline.

What to expect from responding police officers

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  • Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life-threatening behavior.
  • Identify threats such as improvised explosive devices.
  • Identify victims to facilitate medical care, interviews, and counseling.
  • Investigation.

Police officers responding to an active shooter(s) are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officer(s) may be in teams, they may be dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and Kevlar helmets or other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns. Do exactly as the officers instruct. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured.

Timely Warnings

The Chicago State University Police Department Chief or a designee will develop timely warning notices for the University Community to notify members of the community about serious crimes against people that occur on campus, where it is determined that the incident may pose an ongoing threat to members of the CSU community. These warnings will be distributed if the incident is reported either to CSU PD directly or to the CSU PD indirectly through a campus security authority or the Chicago Police Department. 

Crime Alerts will be posted in all the campus buildings, when deemed necessary. When a Crime Alert is posted in campus buildings, it shall be printed on white paper and be posted in the lobby/entrance area of the affected building(s) for seven (7) days. Crime Alerts are filed in the case jacket with the corresponding incident report.

The Chicago State University Police Department will not issue Crime Alerts if:

The department apprehends the subject(s) and the threat of imminent danger for members of the CSU community have been mitigated by the apprehension. If a report was not filed with the Chicago Police Department or if the CSU PD was not notified of the crime in a manner that would allow the department to post a “timely” warning for the community. A general guideline will include a report that is filed more than five days after the date of the alleged incident may not allow CSU PD to post a “timely” warning to the community. This type of situation will be evaluated on a case by case basis.