Campus police trained for the worst

Pat Gilles, Staff Writer

Despite the infrequency of serious incidents, Pitt-Johnstown campus police are trained for troublesome environments, like a March 8 gunfight that left a Pitt-Oakland  officer wounded and the alleged gunman dead.

The possibility of danger is always present.

Campus police officer Eric Zangaglia said campus police train with the Pitt-Oakland Special Weapons and Tactics team or with the Cambria County team for  situations such as entering a building or room for clearing.”

During this day-long training event the officers are refreshed on how to properly enter rooms with an armed suspect inside and how to neutralize suspects without collateral damage. They also receive annual weapons qualifications.

Zangaglia said this training is invaluable for any kind of emergency situation with the threat of an armed person, even though he has never needed to use it during his six years as a campus police officer.

“We like to train to be ready if something would ever happen and at the same time we pray that it never does.”

Some students may still wonder how the campus police would notify them during an emergency situation.

The campus police have an emergency preparedness system that students can sign up for if they would like to be notified.

As a part of the system, students who sign up for this system are to receive both a voice and text notification if one of these situations arises, urging them to stay clear of an area.

Zangaglia said he is a strong believer in preparedness.

“We encourage students to sign up for this emergency-notification system prior to an emergency on campus,” said Zangaglia.

“We would like to be as prepared as possible, but every situation will dictate how we respond.”