Local law enforcement and EMS agencies work together to hold active shooter drills. OCSD and OCFA held one at Saddleback College last March and the most recent was at the Shops at Mission Viejo. (Pixabay)
During the past few months there have been multiple college campus shootings, including the most recent in Oregon at Umpqua Community College.
All these campus shootings begs the question, how safe do you feel on your own campus? Campus safety is an issue of concern for the Saddleback College community.
Patrick Higa, Saddleback’s new Police Chief, was asked if the campus and/or district have done anything to change protocol if a shooter on campus became a reality.
“Emergency procedures should be considered a living document. They should always be evolving to incorporate the best practices and newest advances in dealing with emergency situations,” Higa said. “The District is constantly reviewing these procedures to make sure we are knowledgeable and prepared.”
The Saddleback College Police Department runs drills and exercises with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority involving active shooter scenarios. They have run drills in the Student Services Center in the past and most recently at the Shops at Mission Viejo.
The officers are training alongside sheriff deputies and firefighters so they can be prepared to handle any incident and to quickly integrate with these agencies to handle situations quickly and efficiently.
Saddleback campus also provides a number of “behind-the-scene” activities to build up a safer campus for faculty and students.
“The Offices of Instruction, Student Services, Administrative Services and especially the Office of the President have made emergency preparedness a priority issue,” Higa said.
If there were to be an emergency on campus, like a shooter on school grounds, mass notification can be accomplished in a number of ways. Instant messaging can be used to transmit as phone texts, the college website can be quickly updated and the electronic message board in front of the campus can be updated to display emergency information.
“I have been attending classes here at Saddleback and have not yet felt unsafe by any means, but I would like to see more security on campus,” said Matt Clements, a 26-year-old kinesiology major.
Having more security walking around campus could possibly make students and faculty feel more at ease, especially if they are taking and/or teaching night classes.
“Most of the classes I take are night classes because I work during the day,” said Chase Halaby, a 22-year-old kinesiology major. “But it would be nicer to see security at night.”
Halaby said security cameras around campus, whether it’s something violent or less serious, would definitely help catch the people committing crimes.
No campus can ever be fully secure, but possibly raising the amount of campus police and security would make students and faculty feel more safe walking onto campus, especially after there have been multiple news stories about college campus shootings.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com. Used with a Creative Commons CC0 license.