Oregon School Shooting: How Prepared is DMACC?

The shooting at Umpqua Community College raises concerns about how prepared DMACC students, faculty, and staff would be in case of a similar situation.

Ned Miller, the executive director of the physical plant, has said that one of the best things students can do during a hostile situation is know your options.

Miller recommends that students familiarize themselves with ALICE: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. ALICE is not a procedure, but a list of options says Miller.

There is an ALICE poster and Emergency Procedures Guide in every classroom.

The ideal situation, according to Miller, is to get out of DMACC, making sure to zig-zag while running away and hiding behind things out of the line of fire.

However, it may be better to go in a classroom and board up the entrances with chairs and desks instead, Miller added. Miller also said that it is essential that you do not just hide in a classroom but also have things ready to throw and hit an attacker with.

“You have to respond to what is going on around you,” Miller said.

Miller has informed us in the event that shots are fired on campus, security officers have multiple responsibilities.

First, a crisis management team and select others are informed of the situation and continue to pass information on to others during the attack.

They also will direct students and faculty to lockdown in a room or evacuate, depending on the situation.

Lastly, minimize the places attackers can access.

Calling the police is always an option. When the police do get there, follow their instructions and don’t make any sudden movements or pull out any phones or other items since the police don’t know who the attackers are and are in a very defensive state of mind.

DMACC security guards do not carry firearms or stun guns.

The issue of guns and stun guns “could be debated and has no right or wrong answer,” Miller said.

Andy Blackford, a student from Des Moines and majoring in accounting, said “maybe if we had police officers working for campus [it would be safer].”

Security has increased since the Umpqua shooting, but Miller has refrained from giving actual numbers on what the increase in security has been.

The security guards have had official training licensed by the state. They are also certified in first aid, CPR, and AED. They also participate in ongoing education through things like Securitas Security On-Line training.

DMACC Security Supervisor Lieutenant Terry Harrison said, “We do what DMACC would want us to do. I hire officers that get the job done. Ninety-nine percent of the job is verbal; de-escalation is the most important part of the job, to get the situation calmed down and get to the root of the problem is key, if it does get physical its only 1 percent of the time.”

Another point to help student safety is to make sure that students’ phones and e-mails are on the DMACC Security Alert System. So, if there is any kind of emergency, students will be notified what and where it is. It would also notify you off-campus so you would know not to come to a hostile situation.

If any student is concerned about something they should report it, Miller said. Passing the information to an instructor, security officer or even the dean would help notify authorities or even stop an attack. The Department of Homeland Security has been using the slogan “If you see something, say something.”

This should apply to wherever we are not just at DMACC said Miller.

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