Local colleges are continuously working to enhance safety measures on their campuses to prevent tragedies like the three college campus shootings that have occurred this year .
LaGrange College, West Georgia Technical College and Point University have put into practice similar efforts to make a safe environment for their students and faculty.
LaGrange College set up a contract with Securitas Security Services in August 2010 to provide security on the campus at all times of the day. Securitas provides security officers and transportation for making campus patrol rounds, and they are responsible for securing buildings, issuing citations for illegally parked cars and providing escort services when requested along with other common police duties.
“This agreement has now been in place for two years, and the results have been very rewarding,” said Marty Pirrman, vice president for finance and operation at LC. “The presence of security on campus is evident.”
Aside from Securitas providing extensive security services, the faculty is also equipped and trained on how to handle sudden emergencies. The college’s Emergency Preparedness Plan allows for employees to broadcast alerts to the campus, and call 911 so LaGrange police can respond as quickly as possible, in the event of a shooting.
The recent gun tragedies have been lessons for some of the colleges.
“Real or potential gun violence is a serious issue and Point University attempts to learn from past incidents and peer schools in an effort to improve safety,” said Fred Berkeley, director of security for Point.
Last week, Point faculty received additional safety training. Though the campus does not have the Securitas service, they are equipped with, what Berkeley said is, an appropriately staffed Safety and Security Department, and they are also working to increase safety practices.
West Georgia Tech is also working to increase their safety practices.
“West Georgia Technical College values the safety of our community,” said WGTC Police Sgt. Jarrett Allen. “Regular meetings about safety is an ongoing process.”
In addition to more security planning, Allen said that certified police officers are throughout campus when the campus is open and that officers are fully compliant with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council regulations. All officers have been trained in active shooter response in cases of an emergency, and like LC and Point, all faculty and staff have been distributed an emergency response plan and all staff has been trained on how to enact the plan.
LC is happy with their current safety protocols, they are also always looking for ways to improve and update. During the fall semester, the college introduced a building access policy designed to alert personnel about students in certain facilities after regular hours of operation. Pirrman said that the president’s cabinet has discussed safety and security on campus and recently invited the campus community to an open forum to review current measures and asked for input on other actions that should be considered. They also implemented a policy where resident assistants in the dorms participate in training sessions at the beginning of each semester on how to respond in an emergency.
All of the colleges update their security plans as needed and holds occasional meetings on ways to improve.