ATF special agent, Vincennes University alumnus prepares public for active shooter incidents

ATF special agent, Vincennes University alumnus prepares public for active shooter incidents

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September 27, 2019

September 27, 2019

ATF special agent, Vincennes University alumnus prepares public for active shooter incidents

James Soper photo

VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University students, members of the public, law enforcement, and high school students were hanging on every word as VU alumnus and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent James Soper shared what civilians should do to survive during an active shooter situation on Friday.

With the AFT since 2007, Soper is assigned as the Division Tactical Advisor (DTA) for the Detroit Field Division, which consists of coordinating and instructing all tactical training for agents and Task Force Officers. This includes active shooter response training.

A very small percentage of people actually encounter an active assailant event, according to Soper. His presentation focused on preparedness and educating civilians on what to actions to take to survive a situation that involves an active assailant. His talk centered on Texas State University’s Avoid Deny Defend program or what he described as run, hide, and fight.

“Avoid is if you are in a situation, avoid the situation and get out of it. If you’re not in that situation the chances of you being injured are almost zero. If you are not there, you can’t be injured,” Soper said.

“If you are present during one of these active assailant attacks, you should deny them access to you that being we need you to hide. When we say hide that is barricade yourself in a room. Do not allow them access to you. Stay low to the ground. Stay away from the doors. Lock the door. It’s something as simple as when you enter into a room, lock the door behind you. These individuals are opportunists. If they can gain access to you easily, then you are a target. If they cannot gain access to you easily, then they move on to the next possibility.

“In the worst-case scenario and you come face to face with that attacker, now you have to defend yourself. Defend yourself in ways that you’ve probably never expected to. This is a life or death situation. We need you to defend yourself with every ounce of energy you have. We want you to survive this event. We want you to go home to your family and get home safe.”

After sharing the life-saving information, Soper was honored as a distinguished alumni by the Vincennes University Alumni Association and presented with an award.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 35 other states, and 17 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,