From the NFPA Journal archives
by Steve Corich
NFPA Journal, September/October 2008
Recent college shootings have driven home a number of lessons for law enforcement officials. One of those is the importance of rapidly notifying students and employees of emergencies so that life-saving action can begin immediately. Officials at Virginia Tech were criticized for waiting too long to notify the campus population of events unfolding during last year’s campus shooting, and nearly every college in the United States has examined or is examining its ability to notify students and employees of danger.
Some state legislatures have recently passed laws requiring their schools and universities to implement reliable and comprehensive mass notification systems (MNS). The Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 requires that all postsecondary institutions make “timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees.” Above and beyond state or federal legislation, we in public safety have a moral and ethical obligation to provide the safest possible environment for our students and employees.
Mesa Community College (MCC) in Arizona recently experienced two all-campus lockdowns as a result of threats by nonstudent intruders involving firearms. Sworn MCC Public Safety officers safely and successfully dealt with the threats with assistance from the City of Mesa Police Department.