ATLANTA - Leaders from several of Atlanta’s top historically black colleges and university came together on Wednesday for active shooter training exercise.
Atlanta University Center Consortium joined forces with local law enforcement and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the arm of the Department of Homeland Security tasked with enhancing cyber and infrastructure security, for a table-top exercise.
The goal was to share best practices, increase inter-agency coordination, and to understand the roles of each when responding to a possible active shooter situation.
"This community-wide exercise should reassure our parents, students, staff, and other constituencies that we place their safety as a top priority as we learn, work, and thrive at the Atlanta University Center," said Dr. Michael Hodge, Executive Director for the Atlanta University Center Consortium.
Wednesday’s exercise does not stem from any specific threats, but comes amid outrage at recent mass shootings across the U.S. Those include a racist attack last month that killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, and the shooting deaths May 24 of 19 children and two adults at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school in which the gunman was killed. In Southern California, one person was killed and five injured May 15 after a man authorities say was motivated by hatred of Taiwan opened fire on Taiwanese parishioners. Also, just last week, a gunman opened fire at an Alabama church killing three people.
It also comes after a series of bomb threats at HBCUs across the country earlier this year, including several in Atlanta. CISA advisors have been working with HBCU leaders on addressing potential threats and increasing security and potential response since those threats.
"Universities should be safe spaces where students can focus on learning and preparing for their futures," said Dr. David Mussington, CISA’s Executive Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security. "In the wake of mass shootings across the nation, we must do everything we can to keep our campuses secure. Following today’s exercise, Atlanta’s HBCUs and our first response partners are better prepared to coordinate together if a real-world situation were to occur."
Atlanta’s HBCUs are uniquely situated that allows them to pool resources due to location.
"The close geolocated campuses of the AUC create, in practice, one large campus community. The collaboration and close engagement of the campuses and our partners in the community continues to provide a safe and secure environment," said Dr. Hodge.
Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, Morris Brown College, AUC Robert Woodruff Library and the Interdenominational Theological Center all participated in Wednesday’s exercise.
This is the second time this year CISA has held a table-top exercise with Atlanta HBCUs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report