School security has been a growing concern across the nation in light of the recent violence towards students and faculty. The shooting at Lone Star Community College in Texas on Jan 23, when an altercation between Trey Foster and Judy Neal erupted into violence leaving four people injured.
Pierce College has security measures in place in the event of an emergency, for example a gunman on campus. According to campus security, there are procedures in place in the event of an active shooter on campus and what steps students and faculty should use. If a student or faculty member is in a room the first step is to immediately lock, or barricade, all doors and windows.
Next, make sure to turn off all devices that may cause excessive noise that puts the lives of other at risk, however do call emergency services beforehand. Furthermore, if caught in the open with a gunman, the best solution is to find a safe place to hide until authorities have control over the situation. Students such as Travis Pointdexter feel safe on campus but have concerns over the physical fitness of security officers.
“Luckily nothing has happened so far while I’ve attended Pierce,” Pointdexter said. “Although I’m not sure exactly that some officers are in the best physical condition to respond to a crisis.”
Since security staff use walkie-talkies and don’t carry weapons, such as pepper-spray or Tasers, there aren’t physical fitness standards to be met.
Upon hearing the fire alarm, students and faculty should secure their personal belongings and exit the building keeping 200 feet away at all times during the evacuation. For those who require assistance, students and faculty should immediately notify an evacuation director or campus safety officer providing a location and description of the individual.
The facts on what to do during an emergency situation are cut and dry with some students alerting to the fact that these procedures are not practiced as often as they should. Pierce student Fletcher Bonnell shared his thoughts on some potential precautions and ideas that could keep Pierce safer than it already is.
“I always see campus security patrolling the parking lot” Bonnell said. “The only thing I have an issue with is there hasn’t been any practice drills lately. If there was a drill once a month people would have a clear plan of what to do during a campus emergency.”
The total numbers of on and off campus incidents are low. According to Pierce College’s 2011 campus security statistics, there were four vehicle thefts, two on the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campus, along with one burglary and one forcible sexual offense at the Steilacoom campus.
Director of Safety and Assistant Director of Facilities Chris MacKersie thanks the relationship between security, students and first responders such as the police and fire departments.
“Since campus security at Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup is doing an exceptional job keep students and faculty safe,” MacKersie said. “Campus security’s focus is not punishment but rather on resolving issues in order for students to continue to succeed.”
Informative videos and PowerPoints are available on the Pierce College campus safety webpage. Students must remain vigilant in reporting and dealing with any sort of suspicious behavior or illegal activities on campus.
Pierce alum Sydney Devyak mentions that campus security is doing a great job of keeping students and faculty safe at Pierce College.
“I’ve never really noticed campus security, but then again I’ve never felt there are any problems that put me at risk here at Pierce,” Devyak said. “Pierce College’s campus security is up to the task of keeping everyone here secure every day and especially in an emergency situation.”
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