OCU Students Learn Homeland Security Law Through Mock Terrorist Attack

Tuesday, December 1st 2015, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

The terrorist attacks in Paris has Americans wondering, what if ISIS tried to do the same thing here?

It is a very real threat and students at the Oklahoma City University Law School simulated how America would respond on Tuesday.

In a mock drill, terrorists attacked Oklahoma City.

OCU law students had to use legal analysis to advise leaders on how they could proceed.

The drill was patterned after the well-coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on theaters, sporting arenas and restaurants.

“It's a quick-paced application of what we've spent an entire semester learning,” said Josh Anderson, an OCU law student.

The law course is homeland security and each student is assigned a role, such as Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Homeland Security Secretary and others.

They have to decide how to investigate an attack while still following the law and protecting citizens’ rights when it comes to gathering evidence.

“It's really about balancing, it's about the lawyers being the advocates for the American citizens in the midst of situations like this while our leaders are trying to make the best decisions possible,” Anderson explained.

Students debated whether a state or the federal government has the power in a homeland emergency.

“Often in law school, you are sort of out for yourself and I love this exercise because it puts them in teams to work together,” said assistant dean Joshua Snavely who is also the director of the Murrah Center at Oklahoma City University School of Law.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas is an OCU law grad and played the role of President of the United States.

“You don't wait until it happens, you practice and you practice and you practice so when God forbid something does happen, you are prepared,” said Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas.

Grissom said it is a sad commentary on where the world when terrorism response is a law course, but it must be done.

“It's something that our country faces and there is nothing more important in our mind than preparing leaders for these kinds of decisions,” Snavely told News 9.

This interactive exercise serves as the final for these students rather than a written exam.

The Murrah Center at the OCU Law School opened in April to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Its focus is homeland security and homegrown terrorism.