Laurie E. Bick-Jensen
Director, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
Education in the Event of an Emergency
For the Wilmington University Criminal Justice Institute, a prepared community is a strong community
School safety isn't just crossing guards and fire drills anymore. That's why two Wilmington University instructors with decades of law enforcement experience between them recently presented how to prevent and respond to a school shooting for the faculty and staff of the Brandywine School District.
"We need to get this information out to people, not just the authorities," says Dr. Raymond Carr, Director of the Wilmington University Criminal Justice Institute "It's the people on site who'll have to handle an active shooter. Most of these incidents end within minutes, before the police can even get there, so they're the ones who are actually going to be able to stop the shooter and protect themselves."
Dr. Carr directs the University's Criminal Justice Institute, a new academic collaboration that aims to put the University's social research and continuing education to work serving and solving community issues.
"You're only as good as the information you've got," he says. "This is a way for Wilmington University to give back to the community, by demonstrating the different things the many things we can all do to help ourselves."
The active shooter training sessions at Brandywine School District's Concord High School on August 29-30 were the ideal public introduction for the Criminal Justice Institute's outreach efforts, says Dr. Carr.
During the morning and afternoon presentations, Dr. Carr and Dr. Greg Warren — chair of the Wilmington University Administration of Justice and Homeland Security master's degree programs and former Delaware State Police captain — showed the district's 1,500 employees, including faculty from all grades, how preparation can pave the way for action.
From recognizing potential behavior warning signs to understanding the effects of situational stress, "the decisions you make matter," says Dr. Carr, "and mental preparation is 75%."
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Carr for quite some time," says Brandywine School District superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick, "starting as his children’s' former principal, so when he personally reached out to me with the offer of partnering with us, it was a no-brainer. This is an important element in our overall safety and security plan. Ensuring that best practices are in place in our schools through an interactive presentation by two veteran law enforcement trainers is incredibly valuable."
Drs. Carr and Warren are planning to present their training session to Brandywine's middle- and high-school students and parents this fall, and are available to discuss bringing the training to any of the state's other school districts, charter and private schools.
School shootings aren't the only subject the Criminal Justice Institute has its eye on. Earlier this year, it led a course on de-escalation, risk management, communication, and cultural awareness for the State of Delaware's 1,600 correctional officers in the wake of a 2017 hostage crisis at Smyrna's James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
The CJI has also been asked to develop programs for identifying and treating opioid addiction at the community level as well as suppressing violent crime in the communities that are served by our law enforcement professionals. The University is researching a possible Master of Science in Forensic Science program as a STEM counterpart to the university's other criminal justice master's degrees. The Criminal Justice Institute has begun a search for topics in research that are affecting the community. There are also plans in development for a one-day justice academy, which introduces the state's high school juniors and seniors to potential career choices.
"The sky is the limit here, with the institution," says Dr. Carr. "We're a school that caters to every type of learner, and we want to get involved in what's affecting the community."
For more information about the Wilmington University Criminal Justice Institute, contact Dr. Raymond Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Wilmington University
Wilmington University is one of the fastest growing and most affordable private, nonprofit universities in the region, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in online and traditional formats. An accredited and respected leader specializing in exemplary student service, Wilmington University offers convenient and flexible options designed to prepare students for success in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Now celebrating its 50th year, the University has never wavered in its mission to offer opportunities to all who wish to transform their lives through quality education. For more information, visit wilmu.edu.