Community colleges encourage safety, security policy review
Local community colleges are looking closely at security on their own campuses after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. West Kentucky Community and Technical College administrators say they answered calls and concerns all day.
Staff members say they are confident campus is a safe place, but they did ask for more patrols from city police over the next few days. WKCTC’s guards, like those at Umpqua Community College, are unarmed. That’s why the school wants everyone to review safety policies and procedures.
Operations Manager of Security at WKCTC David Wallace has an extensive background in law enforcement and maybe more motivation than some to protect and serve. His son is a student at the college. Wallace says he relies on his and his staff’s knowledge and experience in crisis situations.
"Its the ability through experience and training to recognize a threat and knowing the appropriate response," Wallace says.
School administrators say if something does happen, you should show law enforcement you’re not a threat by holding up your hands or placing them on your head.
Vice President of Administrative Services John Carrico says administrators are confident in their school’s policies, and students should review them now. He says safety and security are the number one priority on campus.
Carrico says they still want to be prepared, "in case something like this were to happen here. We hope it doesn’t, but we want to be prepared in case it does."
Because as safe as their campus is, Carrico can’t help but think this could happen here.
"We’re all in the education game together," Carrico says. "And any time it happens, particularly at a college and particularly at a community college, we have such a kinship to those people."
The school says it uses SNAP in any emergency situation. SNAP sends email, text and phone call alerts to everyone on campus.
The school routinely reviews and updates its safety and security policies. But, as for any drastic changes, that discussion hasn’t been brought up.
We reached out to other community colleges about security on their campuses. John A. Logan College says it holds periodic mock shooting drills and staff according to student population. Shawnee Community College says it tries to beef up security after any mass shooting event and sends out reminder emails. Neither college allows weapons on campus.
After a hostage situation in 2003, Dyersburg Community College in Tennessee says it changed its policies. Director of Public Information Amy Finch says the school started a closed-door policy. All doors must be closed at the start of class and automatically lock from the outside. Finch says this is to keep intruders out. The school also uses an alert system and holds emergency drills.