How have University of Utah police prepared for an attack like the one at UNLV?

Dec 7, 2023, 5:52 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is prepared for an active aggressor event such as the gunman who shot and killed three faculty members on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus on Wednesday, a U. public safety official said on Thursday.

A fourth UNLV educator was injured and remained hospitalized on Thursday.

The shooter, identified by police as Anthony Polito, a longtime business professor, had reportedly applied for a position at UNLV but was not hired. The shooter was killed by police, ending the rampage, according to media reports.

Before the shooting, the gunman mailed 22 letters to university faculty members across the U.S., but the contents of those letters wasn’t immediately known, according to media reports.

A U. spokesman Shawn Wood said the university had not heard of any U. faculty who had received letters.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Jason C. Hinojosa, administrative captain of the U.’s Department of Public Safety, said the agency and campus prepare to respond to such events. He described both the training and planned response as “robust.”

Officers study campus shooting to learn more about how community and campus-based law enforcement agencies handle various events.

Public safety officers at the U. and statewide understand if they have to respond to such an event “we are going in. We understand that this is at great personal risk to ourselves. But that’s part and parcel to the job. That’s what we’ve all committed to do,” he said.

In terms of training, the department offers training to staff and faculty and each semester, the university pushes out a training video to students.

Hinojosa said the training for staff can range from lecture and discussion “all the way to a full-blown exercise, then everything in between,” Hinojosa said.

“It’s hard to say you’re really ever prepared because it’s such an enormous and overwhelming thing to face. But we do train and we do educate and try to be as prepared as we can possibly be for that type of incident,” he said.

The video instructs students to “run, hide, fight,” he said.


A training video of an active shooter scenario produced by the University of Utah for students, staff and faculty instructs viewers to “run, hide, fight.” (University of Utah)

“It’s actually very well produced and it gives some pretty good information on what you would need to do if you were faced with those circumstances where you’re in the workplace or you’re in class or you’re at an event,” he said.

Active aggressor events “tend to happen unexpectedly,” Hinojosa said, and sometimes, the warning signs aren’t apparent until the investigation after the attacks.

“Sometimes we see those, sometimes we don’t. We do have a robust analysis system here on campus that coordinates with the State Information Analysis Center very, very regularly. So we have our ear to the ground quite a bit and we’re always listening and willing to take any reports from anybody who may have some concern or there’s some suspicious activity on campus,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Gun Violence

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Michael Houck

Police: Motorcyclist found with ‘fresh blood on his face’ after allegedly shooting another driver

A motorcyclist allegedly followed a car after a physical fight and shot at the car's driver multiple times before fleeing the scene, police say.

2 hours ago

Cedar City police said one person was hospitalized and another was taken into custody following an ...

Mark Jones and Michael Houck, KSL TV

1 person in custody, another hospitalized in alleged road rage incident in Cedar City

Cedar City police said one person was hospitalized and another was taken into custody following an alleged road rage incident on Wednesday afternoon.

1 day ago

Gun Violence Prevention Center held its annual Guns to Gardens event Saturday, June 8, 2024. The ev...

Mary Culbertson

Gun violence prevention event converts unwanted firearms into gardening tools

Gun Violence Prevention Center held its annual Guns to Gardens event, which converts unwanted firearm donations into garden tools.

4 days ago

A Riverdale police car on the street and two SWAT officers on a roof as they served a search warran...

Michael Houck

Riverdale SWAT placed one person into custody after weekend shooting

Police in Davis County served a search warrant and placed a male into custody due to a shooting that hurt another person on Saturday.

7 days ago

FILE - A woman wheels a cart with her purchases out of a Walmart store, Nov. 18, 2020, in Derry, N....

Cameron Burnett, KAKE

Kansas Walmart shooting started as high school game ‘senior assassin’

A shooting at a Walmart in Goddard that left a high school senior paralyzed from the waist down started as a game played by teenagers, a court document states.

8 days ago

Hoover standing in court....

Emily Ashcraft, and Shara Park, KSL TV

Matt Frank Hoover sentenced to life without parole for murder of Provo police officer

A man was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for the murder of a Provo police officer.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

How have University of Utah police prepared for an attack like the one at UNLV?