A Campus Response to Crisis

By Gregory Richter


It is important to note that the CRT is not designed to replace the existing campus law enforcement or security presence, but to assist and enhance their ability to keep the campus safe and secure. The CRT is available to receive reports of potential violence from students, staff, and faculty. They are trained to respond when violence does occur to minimize the effect of a violent attack until the arrival of first responders. CRT members are not trained to confront aggressors; however, they are trained in campus protective measures such as assessing potential problems, calling emergency services, communicating via the radio to other CRT members, and directing campus lockdowns, emergency evacuations, and emergency drills.  

The CRT is typically composed of 10 to 20 campus volunteers, depending on the size and layout of the campus, who come together to address incidents and threats to campus safety. CRT members have an interest in campus safety, have a feeling of ownership of the institution, and have a skill set that allows them to help maintain a safe campus environment. Often the CRT will include subject matter experts from the campus, such as professors of emergency management, criminal justice, psychology, or medicine, along with individuals who have previously worked in a related field. For example, some members have police, fire, nursing, counseling, or military experience. Other members may be laypersons that volunteer to be on the team because of an interest in campus safety or to improve their own skills in team building and emergency response. A liaison from the campus security force is also assigned to the team. One of the major advantages of the CRT is that it harnesses a broad scope of the best and brightest minds from the campus that can come together to discuss pending issues, assess threats, or respond to actual events until the arrival of first responders. All members of the CRT have an interest in the safety, security, and well being of campus staff and students.

Regularly scheduled meetings and training sessions allow CRT members to keep up to date on campus safety, physical security, and special events. The team also participates in simulated responses to real-life scenarios.

It is important that other campus personnel and the student population know who the CRT members are and that the CRT members are readily identifiable and are immediately accessible. To ensure the CRT is visible on campus, the team concept is discussed during student, employee, and faculty orientation and CRT members often attend student and faculty meetings to present safety briefings and discuss safety and security issues. In addition, team members are readily identifiable by a red lanyard with white “CRT” letters and a “CRT” identification badge that is affixed to the lanyard worn around the neck.


The CRT members are well versed in the campus violence prevention policy. This policy clearly states the institution’s stance on violence prevention and discusses every aspect of the issue. For example, violence is defined as classroom disruptiveness, bullying, physical violence, threats, dating violence, or stalking. These policies are provided to the student body and understood by all parties within the campus environment. The policies are accompanied by the penalties and discipline that offenders should expect if violations occur.

The policies and procedures are designed to minimize access to the campus by intruders and unwanted persons. For example, students and employees must display IDs while on campus property, and vehicle identification placards must be visible at all times.



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