Preliminary Investigation Observations (12.5.18)

Preliminary Investigation Observations

LMU retained the law firm of Musick, Peeler and Garrett to conduct an independent investigation of the active shooter threat incident that occurred on Nov. 9, 2018 at LMU's Westchester Campus. At Musick Peeler's direction, Franklin Global, a security consulting firm, is currently conducting a comprehensive investigation into the actions of LMU's Department of Public Safety in response to the threat incident.

LMU recently received a verbal progress report regarding the investigation. Please note that the following initial findings and observations are provided in support of the university's commitment to self-improvement and transparency. The investigation is active and ongoing; therefore, statements are subject to revision and will be further contextualized upon delivery of the final report, which will include a detailed analysis and timeline. In addition to incident analysis, the investigation is reviewing policies and procedures of LMU DPS. The university will make this and subsequent updates available on its Action Plan Website. The investigation team thanks the LMU Community for its continued cooperation.

Initial Observations

  • On Nov. 9, 2018, LMU DPS promptly and effectively notified 9-1-1 Emergency Services, the most critical action taken in response to the active shooter threat. 9-1-1 dispatched the Los Angeles Police Department, which arrived on campus quickly to protect community safety, assess the situation, and establish an incident command.
  • LMU already maintains an adequate mass notification system, called LMU Alert. Powered by Blackboard Connect, the system provides notifications to the LMU community in an emergency via text, phone, email, and social feeds. LMU maintains additional notification systems, including a campus wide intercom telephone system and a LiveSafe mobile application for students, parents, faculty, and staff.
  • LMU DPS maintains prewritten scripts for crisis notifications, including active shooter threats, designed to expedite the issuance of emergency alerts.
  • LMU DPS staff failed to send an LMU Alert in a prompt manner on Nov. 9, 2018, which conflicts with established internal policies and protocols. The ranking DPS staff member on campus at the time of the incident is responsible for issuing emergency alerts.
  • Subsequent efforts to send an LMU Alert were made by DPS management who were offsite during the incident. Several issues contributed to the delay in alerts being issued. While still under investigation, initial indicators suggest training deficiencies in critical incident response.
  • DPS staffing and staffing levels are under review.

Interim Process Improvements

LMU has already initiated corrective actions and preparedness drills to improve future emergency responses. Additional responsive improvements are anticipated when the final investigation report is shared.

Training Improvements

  • LMU DPS staff has been retrained on use of the LMU Alert system, including additional options for sending notifications in the event of technical challenges.
  • LMU DPS staff have been tested to verify that they are able to able to send alert notifications.
  • LMU DPS management has reinforced alert notification policies .
  • LMU DPS is reviewing operating procedures, policies, and protocols.
  • LMU DPS management has made alert notification procedures available to DPS staff for quick access during an incident.
  • LMU DPS and LAPD have met to review response challenges and to plan future coordinate training sessions.

Process and Systems Improvements

  • LMU DPS modified and added additional alert notification templates to reduce production time required to send an alert.
  • LMU conducted a successful alert system test at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2018. System tests will be conducted monthly.
  • LMU DPS management is facilitating ongoing discussions with staff to reaffirm the importance and management support of sending immediate notifications rather than waiting for confirmation from upper management.

Next Steps

  • A review of the alert systems was initiated prior to the November 9, 2018 incident. LMU DPS has been examining options offered by alternate alert systems to provide additional ease of use and enable faster distribution across multiple platforms.
  • A thorough review of the quality LMU DPS staff, staffing levels, training and emergency preparedness.