Campus officer responds to Vegas shooting

Kurt Bergendahl


On Oct 1,  2017, an active shooter opened fire on 22,000 people during a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The nation was devastated by this tragedy but unfortunately, not surprised. These days, mass shootings are the new normal. In fact, Gianna Sturino, a junior here at UW-Parkside, says that the shootings have made her “constantly aware of her surroundings.” Ashley Swan, a senior, confirms, “There are very few places that you can be safe anymore.” Therefore, what can we do to keep UW-Parkside safe? Kurt Bergendahl, a police officer here on campus, provides some answers.


In an active shooter situation, “Do what’s natural to you,” he expresses. “It could be run, it could be hide, it could be fight but whatever it is, just do something.”

In the active shooter training film, Preventing Mass Causality Shootings In A Campus Setting (found on the UWP website), Sue Riseling explains that the word we should keep in mind is “out.” Get out, call out, hide out, keep out and take out.

Get out, run out of the line of fire and get to safety. Call out, once reaching safety dial 911. Hide out, if getting out is not an option then hide. Keep out, do whatever it takes to keep the shooter out of the room. Take out, if all else fails then fight the shooter.

Bergendahl states that most all doors on campus are lockable by students. Therefore, a student does not have to wait for a staff member to manually lock the door. He also stresses that in the event of a shooting or any campus emergency, the campus police should be called before 911. The emergency phone number for the campus police department is 1 (262) 595-2911 and the non-emergency number is 1 (262) 595-2455.


Above all else, Bergendahl says that we must prepare. He encourages students to visit the “University Police” page on the UW-Parkside website as well as on Facebook ( These resources contain a list of classes that students can take to prepare for a shooting. They also provide a number of videos that walk audiences through an active shooter scenario. Additionally, students can connect with officers in order to talk through their concerns.

We are in good hands

Bergendahl and his team share a profound love for their job. “This is my calling,” Bergendahl stresses. “I do it because I care. UW-Parkside is my home and I want to keep it safe.” With these words in mind, remember that hate cannot truly penetrate our walls, for its officers like Bergendahl who remind us that love truly conquers all.

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