In the Age of Mass Casualties, a Bay Area University prepares

“Every time there is another shooting we get another round of ‘what are we doing to prepare?’”

– Alan Cavallo, Captain, University Police San Jose State


Tasked with protecting a community of 40,000 students and faculty in the heart of an urban downtown, Captain Alan Cavallo is no stranger to emergency preparedness. As the toll from mass shootings continues to rise, Cavallo is implementing a safety campaign to mitigate casualties and give students, faculty and their families peace of mind.

The proactive safety campaign is three-pronged:

  • Student Education Over Summer Orientation

Cavallo emphasizes spatial awareness and campus resources for students after hours. Inspired by the Department of Homeland Security’s education initiatives, his unit has developed a Run, Hide, Defend training to increase the chances of survival during an active shooter event. This training combines risk mitigation and shooter psychology to increase the probability of survival during an active shooting and is disseminated through seminars and demonstrations to faculty and students.

  • Parental Education

This involves educating parents specifically about the types of protocols the university has in place to protect their children. Parents are important stakeholders at the university. With the acceleration of campus shootings, Cavallo believes that school safety is a topic that comes up with greater frequency. By giving parents information about the resources the school offers students, parents can make informed decisions as they plan safety strategies for their college-bound kids, including emergency communication during an event.

  • Acoustic Gunshot Detection

Deployed last year, the V5 Acoustic Gunshot Sensor gives rapid real-time insight into an active shooter as well as post-event forensic evidence. The portability and ease of use of the self-powered technology allows the SJSU PD to be proactive in stopping crime. This technology can alert law enforcement within three seconds of a gunshot going off, providing real-time coordinates for the shooter’s location. This allows law enforcement to aggressively pursue an active shooter, reduce casualties and successfully convict an active shooter at trial.

Hear from Captain Cavallo himself:


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