By Ivan Cazares
An emergency involving an active shooter on campus over the summer prompted President Marvin Martinez to call a meeting to discuss how the school responded and how it could improve on how it responds to emergency situations.
“It was quite clear to everyone that our response to this emergency was a failure of epic proportions,” Psychology Department Chair Dr. Sherrie L. Davey said in an email addressed to faculty and staff.
Although nobody was hurt, there was lack of communication between the Sheriff’s Office and administration.
The president was informed of the situation by Dean Kozeracky, who found out about the situation from a different source.
The email outlines the school’s improvement plan based on feedback from department chairs, the president’s account of the incident and the Sheriff’s Office.
One of the main issues is that the president was not immediately alerted of the threat.
“The first thing we do is make contact. After seeing if the threat is credible or not, we contact administration,” Deputy Alberto Romero said.
Martinez and the Sheriff agreed that the president needs to be notified even if a threat has not been confirmed, in order to prepare and take action if needed.
The school uses three independent notification system.
Although there are two large sound systems on the roof of G3, not all buildings have interior speaker systems.
Adding interior speakers and speakers in the parking complexes is part of the schools plan.
The exterior sound systems are designed to reach anyone on campus who happens to be outside of a building, however the volume was turned down before the incident, due to complaints from neighbors.
The volume has been turned back up after the incident.
The school had to depend on the phones on campus to relay the message.
The effectiveness of using the phones on campus is limited by the number of people near a phone.
Students also have access to the Blackboard Emergency Notification System, which notifies those who register through email or text.
Although a text alert was sent out, messages sent using this system have to be routed through the District’s Office.
This system is also limited by the number of people who register.
“The intercom system is the most effective system,” Romero said.
Outlined in the email sent out by Davey are plans to find a more integrated system and plans to distribute detailed instructions on how to deal with different emergencies.
According to the school’s plan there will be two drills every semester and at least one will be unannounced.
“We are being as proactive as we can be,” Assistent Vice President of Administrative Services Bill Gasper said.
Campus emergency procedures, as well as the phone numbers of agencies people can contact in case of emergencies are posted on the ELAC website.
These procedures include evacuation procedures and what to do during an earthquake or fire.
They are located in the Human Resources section of the site.
To find them, click on the link that says Sheriff and a link to the procedures will appear on the left.