Mass Notification System Delayed in Sacramento City College Shooting

The report said human error and a lack of training led to the failed implementation of the school’s mass notification system.

An independent report on the Sept. 3 Sacramento City College shooting found that the school’s emergency mass notification system was “unacceptably delayed.”

The report, completed by former FBI agent Mike Rayfield, blamed human error and the school’s inadequate training with the mass notification system, reports

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The incident began when a fight broke out between four non-students on the edge of campus. After one of the men stabbed someone an unidentified man began shooting. Roman Gonzalez, 25, was fatally shot and his cousin, 24-year-old Rico Ridgeway, was grazed by a bullet in the encounter.

Moments after the shooting was reported Los Rios Police Chief Cheryl Sears wanted to send a text message notification to the college’s students and staff, but, per school protocol, he had to ask Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Media Relations Mitchel Benson to coordinate the message.

Benson in turn had to ask Public Information Officer Rick Brewer to send the message, but Brewer could not be located immediately. Once Brewer was found, he couldn’t remember the password to log into the W.A.R.N. mass notification system.

Officials were forced to contact the system’s private vendor, who sent the message directly to students 40 minutes after the shooting.

School administrators also sent emails and phone calls to students and staff members, but many never noticed the messages. “It seemed half of the college was on lockdown and half was conducting business as usual,” according to the report.

School officials said they agreed with the report’s findings and vowed to take recommendations on ways to improve the mass notification system. A Preparedness Assessment Team will be giving recommendations based on the report in a Nov. 4 meeting.

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