In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday evening, administration is reinforcing current safety guidelines and precautions.
Pierce College Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher and Associate Vice President of Administrative Services Larry Kraus said the campus already has measures in place to help with pre and post-incident situations.
Kraus and Schleicher said they are among 43 administrators and support people who have been trained for active shooter and other emergency situations. Staging areas and more than 18 100-person emergency supply depots exist around campus.
“We have a lot of mutual aid arrangements in place,” Kraus said. “But to deal with an environment that is happening so quickly, what we also need to do is get a camera system in so that you can see where the issues are, and to what extent, and know what you’re walking into.”
Schleicher said that the school has dedicated more than $150,000 to equipment for emergency response. Kraus said the teams constantly meet for training sessions and to make sure all equipment is up to date.
There are three types of communication in place; mass text, the phone system and 2-way radios.
According to the annual security report for 2017, in the event of a campus emergency, where it is necessary to notify students and staff of impending danger or critical information, Pierce has established a communication protocol to engage as many students and staff as possible, in the shortest amount of time.
It is important that all current technology and communication modes be used to widely distribute the information as quickly as possible, but prior to that, Schleicher said, we have to look for things on campus that may be suspicious.
“So the first thing is to try to get information, like if we hear anything that happened in a classroom or if we hear anything on the campus, is it related to a student or someone from the public,” Schleicher said.
Kraus said it’s an ongoing process where the safety teams meet and keep up with things going on both on and off campus and also make sure equipment is working properly and not dated.
“We have training sessions with the team, and they’re constantly getting new equipment and supplies. They’re testing their backpacks and the flashlights,” Kraus said. “So, all the time, we’re alway checking and rechecking to make sure we have the most up-to-date first aid and survival quick kits to help students and staff.
Pierce College has a team that meets periodically to discuss incidents which could lead to unacceptable behavior on campus as a preventive measure to decrease the likelihood of threatening or violent behavior.
“Those two things are important to understand, because if it’s a person from the campus, many times we will have a Behavioral Intervention Team already here,” Schleicher said. “They’ll know of students backgrounds and that they have some instability. They’re trying to keep check on that with Sheriff’s Department and Student Services.”
Pierce student Shining Villa said that she doesn’t have any issues with current campus safety, and there are good guidelines in place.
“I’ve never seen a fist fight in the campus, or that police have to come here. I do feel like this campus is safe. I’m not sure about other campuses,” Villa said. “There’s always room for improvement when it comes to safety and precautions. I think students should be constantly reminded to practice safety guidance lines on the campus for everybody to be safe.”
After the Las Vegas shooting, Kraus said, the first thing that came to his mind was gun control and how desensitized the country is now.
“It’s a major issue in the United States. How many guns you have is a gun issue,” Kraus said. “It’s about this whole issue of how we deal with an active shooter environment. It’s just the whole sense of the nation. We’re all playing these games, these shoot-‘em-up, bang bang games.”
Schleicher said the most important incidents the campus focuses on are active shooter, earthquakes and fires.
Schleicher said schools are a generally a big target because there’s more anonymity.
“Most incidents of an active shooter get shut down because someone from a family, or friends or a coworker informed authorities, and they can take down that threat before it gets activated,” Schleicher said. “But high schools and colleges, it’s really hard, it’s almost impossible to differentiate who’s going to be a shooter or not.”
To report a crime, contact the Sheriff’s Department at 818-710-4311 or use the blue emergency telephones located throughout the campus. The phones are activated by pressing the blue button which will dial the Sheriff’s office directly.