Police plan forum to discuss campus safety

By J. Gomez and Caitlin Piper

Eastfield police and administrators have changed some security procedures and plan for additional alterations in light of recent violent incidents on and around campus.

Police Chief Michael Horak will lead a safety forum at 1 p.m. today in S-100/S-101. The public forum will provide details for new safety measures that have already been implemented as well as changes that are currently under consideration. Input from students, faculty and staff is encouraged.

Assistant to the President Sharon Cook is concerned by the recent string of crimes, but remains confident that safety is a top priority for the college.

“When you have 15,000 students and over 400 full-time faculty and staff and another 400-600 that are part-time faculty, we are a community, and as a result, we want to take care of our community,” she said. “We think it’s important to foster a relationship of concern and safety and make sure that our students know it is important to us.”

Eastfield student Brandon Cullen says awareness of your surroundings and resources can mean the difference between a secure campus and a potentially dangerous campus.

“Generally speaking, this is a fairly safe campus, but the way these buildings are set up could be very secure or it could be a death trap, the right circumstances pending,” he said. “Being aware of what’s around you and the services available should help keep crime down.”

Student Katie Hornsby says no place in the world is truly safe, but that everyone should be actively working to make the campus secure because it is the only guaranteed way to minimize crime.

“Even if they employ 10 more or 20 more policemen, they cannot be at every single inch of this campus every single time, so it’s kind of our responsibility to make sure the campus is safe,” Hornsby said.

Cook says the college’s goal is to increase safety for everyone on campus.

“Our number one concern is for students and staff,” she said. “Not the staff, not the students, but the students and staff. This is very unusual for us to have these incidents in one semester. This has affected all of us because we know this is not the usual and, as a result, we are doing all we can to make sure we can learn from these incidents that have occurred.”

1 Comment

  1. For better or worse, more and more institutions of higher education public safety agencies today are finding themselves dealing with a variety of crimes and issues that have been traditionally dealt with by traditional local law enforcement agencies. The recent critical incident at Eastfield College (EC) where two of their sworn police officers were repeatedly stabbed by an assailant highly suggests that EC might be one of among those institutions dealing with this very issue.

    My sincere hope is that EC administrators and the police department’s leadership will objectively and critically review the overall circumstances of what may have lead up to this recent critical incident. In addition, EC leadership should solicit input from the EC community; especially EC police/security personnel as they know what’s really going on in the EC community, and come up with realistic and practical solutions that will only lead to a more secure and safe campus. If I may suggest:
    • Campus administrators and police leadership should ensure that police personnel are being given realistic tools and options to deal with any situation they encounter on the EC campus.
    • In reference to the duties and services provided by the EC police: Determine what are the expectations of the EC administration? Are administrators willing to provide EC police the support, funding and resources needed to realistically improve services and meet any community expectations?
    • Review the EC police training program. Are EC police training needs being met to prepare them to appropriately handle any circumstances on campus?
    • Are EC police personnel being given the latitude to properly handle any situations on campus which might include making custodial arrests whenever appropriate?

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