LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — An independent review of Michigan State University’s response to the Feb. 13 mass shooting has been made public by the school’s interim president.

The report was created by Security Risk Management Consultants (SRMC). It lays out findings and recommendations to “strengthen campus safety and security” and offers ways to improve future emergency responses.

“This report is a critical next step in our ongoing commitment to ensuring MSU is a safe place for all who come to our campus,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “It provides concrete recommendations for strengthening campus safety and reinforces our efforts are on the right track.” 

The report details recommendations for 14 areas:

  1. Public safety department policies and procedures
  2. Planning and preparation
  3. Officer safety and equipment
  4. Leadership coordination and collaboration
  5. Command and control
  6. Internal communications, situational awareness and intelligence
  7. External communications, public relations and traditional and social media
  8. Interagency memorandums of understanding, support agreements and practices
  9. Emergency medical and psychological care
  10. First responder wellness and mental health
  11. Victim and witness support
  12. Community relations, partnerships and resilience
  13. Institutional continuity and recovery efforts
  14. Campus technology evaluation

According to MSU, some of the recommendations are already in place and others are currently being considered.

Specifically, the report found that on the night of the shooting, many different off-duty police officers, mental health services, clergy and members of the press responded to the scene. The report said, “Although well-intentioned, this added to the chaos,” and contributed to more calls about unknown people with guns walking around campus.

In the future, it is recommended that everyone who wants to help gets sent to a parking lot, or another type of staging area and then positioned around campus in accordance with a new centralized “Incident Command System” which is made up of people who are clearly in charge.

Confusion in leadership was also a factor the night of the shooting, the report said: “Our takeaway based on multiple interviews is that the Board of Trustees members wanted to help but became involved in the incident beyond the customary role and expectations of a governance board during an emergency.”

To prevent this from happening in the future, board members and senior leadership on campus should consider which members of campus leadership are in command in an emergency. It has been suggested the board review the National Incident Management System to guide them on this process.

The Rock at Michigan State University shares the message, “Always a Spartan” with the names of the three students killed in the campus shooting. (Feb. 15, 2023)

In the event of an emergency, these orders should be coming from a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC) that has access to every security camera on campus. In August, MSU said it was in the process of renovating the SOC, and it should be completed sometime this semester. This should be a secure room that is only accessible by a few lead members of the security team, and off limits to all other first responders, this will limit confusion and streamline command.

This new facility will eventually use updated security software that will be able to coordinate all the cameras on campus, as well as lockdown buildings at the push of a button. To make that happen, the report is recommending msu change every door lock on campus.

MSU officials say they have already put traditional deadbolts on most of the classrooms on campus after the shooting, but these new locks recommended by the report will be able to lock and unlock remotely by security staff, and they will be held open by magnetic door stops that can turn off and off to shut the doors on command, and lockdown the whole building.

Other improvements include “making improvements to the university’s Family Assistance Center processes and plans, expanding and centralizing the university’s security cameras on campus, implementing a centralized security operations center, upgrading electronic building access and updating door locks on campus.”

“SRMC highlights equally the complexities of such a tragic event on our campus along with the incredible dedication and response by our first responders and staff,” Woodruff added. “I want to again thank each and every one of them for their swift action and care in the immediate hours following the violence, and their ongoing support in the weeks and months that have followed. At the same time, we continue to keep in our hearts the students we lost that night, those injured, the families, and members of our community who were impacted.”

Victims of the shooting:

Three students died in the shooting: Arielle Diamond Anderson, a junior from Grosse Pointe, Brian Fraser, a sophomore from Grosse Pointe, and Alexandria Verner, a junior from Clawson. Five others were injured.

Since the shooting, there have been multiple court filings from attorneys representing the victims and their families intending to sue the university.

They say MSU failed to maintain a proper emergency alert system/public address speakers or access control system; lacked classroom doors that could be locked from the inside; and lacked armed security officers, metal detectors, or security stations.