Purdue Community Praises Shooting Incident First Responders

Others expressed concerns about access control and door locks.

Prompted by the January fatal shooting of a teaching assistant by a student, Purdue University has released a report reviewing campus security.

The study stated that the Jan. 21 shooting incident’s first responders received overwhelming praise by members of the community. Successes in responding to the incident included Purdue University Police Department (PUPD) and Fire Department’s (PUFD) partnerships with outside local agencies; inter-agency response training, which helped prepare all of the officers and responders to respond appropriately to the shooting; two-way radio communications interoperability that allowed multi-agency teams to form quickly to clear buildings and secure the crime scene; and exercised and practiced active shooter plans.

Despite this successes, the shooting prompted the school’s Office of Environmental Health and Public Safety to establish a Twitter feed and work more closely with Purdue’s digital marketing staff, IT, AT&T and Rave Wireless Alert to improve notifications.

Campus Community Wants Better Locks

Access control was a concern mentioned by a number of people who sent emails, called, wrote letters or spoke in person to committee members. They believed that the ability to lock themselves inside a classroom or lab would make them safer. Some expressed anger that this was not possible during the January incident.

The report indicated it would cost about $50,000 to upgrade the locks in the electrical engineering department, where the Jan. 21 shooting took place. That amount doesn’t include a $50,000 survey of the building. The report also covered fire and building code, as well as ADA considerations.

The full panel recommended the administration work with an outside expert to refine campus classroom lock policies, standard operating procedures and safety-security technologies, including door lock hardware.

School Considers Integrated Emergency Notification
The notification and communication sub-committee recommended the current system in place be “opt out” rather than “opt-in,” which would increase coverage of Purdue’s mass notification SMS alert system. It also recommended the school develop an “easy” button with a number of alert layers, including SMS text, email, social media, website and TV. This would enable all messages to deploy at once, regardless of the platform.

The study recommended expanding the mass notification system to include digital signage and computer screen crawler messages. It also recommended installing Alertus “beacon” devices in classrooms that are large or have poor cell coverage.

Additionally, the report suggested Purdue revise its policies and practices involving classified material and cleared contractors; provide training on matters such as perimeter control, preparedness and FERPA. Mental health services were also covered, with the study recommending the school consider expanding its outreach efforts.

Read the report.

Photo via Facebook.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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