Even in light of the recent terrorist attack in Paris, an informal survey of Keene State students finds that 94 percent of students feel safe on campus. Maintaining safety on campus is a constantly evolving job.
The same informal survey found that 62 percent of students do not want a larger presence of campus safety officers. Despite the fact that not many students know that the campus safety department has been short four officers for quite some time now Crossman said students don’t always see the bigger picture.
“ I believe they don’t see the bigger picture of emergency planning and compliance with federal law which actually is the majority of our work,” Leonard Crossman, Assistant Director of Campus Safety, said.
For every one of these duties is a training program held every summer by Keene State College Campus Safety. The Campus Safety Academy is an extensive six-phase training program where the prospective officers must live on campus and attend classes from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The one-week program trains new Keene State officers as well as officers from nearby New England Colleges. The goal is to teach the basics of campus safety protocol as well as giving hands on experience with Keene State’s safety procedures.
In the world today it seems all too common to hear about another mass shooting incident. The survey found that 70 percent of students do not want campus safety officers to carry firearms.
Students and Campus Safety agree that Keene State Campus can remain safe from such incidents without requiring campus safety officers to carry firearms.
“Active shooters statistically do not plan on leaving the scene, having armed campus safety officers does not deter shooters, in lots of cases such as Columbine there was some sort of armed security present during the shooting,” Crossman stated.
The reason for not wanting firearms is not the large investment it would take to facilitate officers with sidearms or the lack of experience of campus safety officers, since campus safety consists of several former members of law enforcement. The real reason that campus safety does not find it necessary to carry firearms is because the Keene Police Department is located in such a close proximity.
“Best way to stop someone with a firearm is with a firearm, but I don’t necessarily feel firearms need to be on campus with KPD three minutes down the road,” Crossman said.
In the event of a live shooting, campus safety is responsible for many tasks to help local law enforcement deal with the situation. From the campus safety office the entire school can be put into lockdown, which locks all main doors into buildings on campus. They are also responsible for monitoring cameras to provide local law enforcement with up to date information on the shooter.
Campus safety works closely with faculty members who are trained on emergency procedures through lockdown drills. Each building on campus has manager for lockdown drills and emergency events. A recent online poll done by the Equinox found that only 19 percent of surveyed students have ever participated in a lockdown drill in college, where as 59 percent of students surveyed said their last lockdown drill was in high school.
“There is a difference between high school and college, high school has more responsibility for the students were in college the students are adults and can make decisions on their own,” Crossman said.
Keene State is consistently improving security and is in the process of hiring new officers to gain a full safety staff.
“I think overall the campus community respects the role we have, we are the middle man between law enforcement and the college students, this allows us to work closer to the campus side of issues but in case of an emergency easily work in collaboration with Keene Police Department,” Crossman said.