The University of New Mexico Continuing Education department will be hosting an active shooter survival course on Saturday that is open to the public.
Global One Defense, an Albuquerque-based company that specializes in defense solutions and trainings, will run the course. The company teaches a variety of courses across the U.S. and other countries, covering topics ranging from active shooter and home invasions to law enforcement and border security.
Gilbert Baca, CEO and founder of Global One Defense, has been teaching the active shooter course since 2008. He says it is important for everyone to go through the training.
"Everybody is affected by an active shooter," Baca said. "You see random attacks across New Mexico, and you can no longer assume that 'it's not going to happen to me.' You can't have that mentality anymore."
One of the most recent shootings in New Mexico was at Aztec High School in December of 2017, where two students were killed.
Global One Defense previously conducted a training with the staff at AHS prior to the shooting. Baca said that when the shooting happened, most of the high school staff did what they were trained to do, which kept the situation from getting much worse.
Saturday's course will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The morning will consist of comprehensive videos and instruction. Baca said the group likes to go over the basics of what an active shooter is and look at some of the thought processes behind a shooter.
In the afternoon, students will learn defense tactics and participate in a reality based, high-stress survival situation.
"They don't have to do anything they don't want to do," Baca said, reassuring that nobody gets hurt during the training.
David Ogden, a freshman at UNM, said that he thinks it would be hard to train for an active shooter situation.
"I feel pretty safe on campus, but I can definitely understand why other people don't," Ogden said. "It honestly wouldn't be a surprise if someone brought a gun on campus."
According to the UNM Police Department's Annual Safety, Fire and Security Report, there were four illegal weapons arrests on the UNM main campus in 2016 alone.
Maralie Waterman BeLonge from the Continuing Education department said that it is best to have the knowledge and learn the tactics for active shooter situations.
"Obviously we hope that nobody is ever in this kind of situation, but the reality is that many of us will be confronted with it at some point," BeLonge said. "If we can be better prepared, then ultimately the outcome will be better."
The cost of the course is $125 — students with a valid UNM ID get a 10 percent discount. Parking on the day of the course will also be free. Students can go online to ce.unm.edu and register under the career training section. All details can also be found on the Continuing Education website.
Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.