School dispatchers were overwhelmed and key crisis managers were never alerted, as shots rang out during the fatal HUB Mall armed robbery, according to recommendations in University of Alberta reports into the mass killings.
The massive number of calls coming into the University of Alberta Protective Services centre overwhelmed dispatchers, limiting their ability to support field officers during and after the massacre, states the first of 16 recommendations attached to the two internal reports presented to school mere days before the man accused of the crimes makes his next court appearance.
As a result, the set of recommendations calls for processes to be put in place to allow for the increase of “dispatch staffing to handle the high volume of calls without removing Peace Officers from the field.
“In the early stages of the HUB incident University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) members in the dispatch area were overwhelmed with calls and requests for information. This limited their ability to provide support for UAPS officers in the field.”
The recommendations also call on the Office of Emergency Management to review and enhance Crisis Management Team databases and protocols to ensure that in the future the right people are notified and deploy accordingly.
“During the HUB incident it was discovered that some Crisis Management Team members’ contact information was inaccurate. As well, some CMT members were not certain about whether their attendance at the Emergency Operations Centre was required, even after the emergency message was issued,” states the second recommendation.
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The two reports, which were compiled by the U of A’s internal security services, determined school staff, and the departments entrusted to deal with such situations, acted according to protocols and within the parametres set out for them.
But Philip Stack, the U of A’s associate vice-president of Risk Management Services and chief author of the reports says its hoped 16 recommendations outlined in those reports will 'continually improve' the university’s response to future large scale emergencies.
"Bearing in mind that emergency response to violent crime such as this is the responsibility of the City Police, who did their job very well, we believe our emergency response processes and actions functioned effectively in this situation," he said.
"No members of our community were injured; we worked effectively with emergency responders; we communicated with all of our many stakeholder groups; and the university was able to return to its normal work very quickly."
Meanwhile, the University of Alberta is defending its decision to not implement the campus emergency notification system to alert students of the shooting.
“Based on the facts associated with the incident and our current policies on the use of the system, we have determined that the university acted clearly within defined policies and procedures," said Stack.
Travis Baumgartner is expected to make his next court appearance on Friday on a litany of charges, including murder and attempted murder.
Baumgartner is believed to be behind a bloody incident that saw three armoured car guards working for GS4 shot and killed during an alleged inside-job armed robbery. The killings occurred as the crew worked at an ATM machine inside the U of A campus on June 15. A fourth crew member was also shot at close range but survived the ordeal.
Eddie Rejano, Michelle Shegelski and Brian Ilesic have been identified as the guards who died. Matthew Schuman was left in critical condition.
It's believed Baungarten then grabbed the cash from the scene and fled the mall located within the U of A campus, before being nabbed at a Canada/U.S. border crossing.