FBI provides tactical training to GCU Public Safety
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
When Joseph Yahner was tapped for the post of Grand Canyon University Director of Public Safety in May, he identified beefed-up training as one of his top priorities.
In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigations conducted two sessions of Basic Active Shooter Response Training for GCU Public Safety personnel, marking the first time the FBI has conducted such training at GCU.
“This was extremely valuable training that gives our campus safety officers the tools to be successful,” Yahner said. “We received high quality training from the FBI Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
More than 50 armed Public Safety employees participated in eight-hour sessions that included team tactical exercises, classroom education and the use of nonlethal training ammunition.
“Our personnel benefited from the same (FBI) teams that train other law enforcement agencies, municipalities and colleges how to respond quickly to active-shooter threats,” GCU Public Safety Commander Keith Kaminski said.
In addition to the FBI, the University also recently hosted two other outside public safety groups, the Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, who were on campus for unrelated testing and graduation events, Kaminski said.
Yahner and Kaminski both are veterans of the Phoenix Police Department. Yahner was the chief, and Kaminski is a former sergeant.
In a thank-you letter to Michael Deleon, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Yahner praised FBI Special Agent Michael Gallante and his team as “professional, extremely knowledgeable and very well received by the attendees. … Due to this training, the Public Safety Department is better prepared to address an active-shooter situation.”
Yahner oversees GCU’s 175-member Public Safety Department, which utilizes a multilayered approach to security that includes an eight-foot fence surrounding the University, roving security patrols, guard stations at every entrance, identification checks before entering campus, bag checks at GCU Arena events, blue light phones throughout campus to report emergencies, tip lines, emergency text notifications, escort programs, 24/7 dispatch services, video technologies and training for active-shooter scenarios.
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.