Big Time Security on a Small College Campus

Here’s how Seattle Pacific University, a small college campus, was able to adopt advanced security technology, and how that technology performed during an active shooter attack.

Administrators at small colleges might believe that advanced, large-scale security is out of their reach. But with the right approach, small institutions of higher education can adopt the latest security technologies.

Several years ago, Seattle Pacific University (SPU) implemented a long-term master plan that included the installation of new or upgraded access control, video surveillance, emergency notification and other technologies, all managed by the campus’ security operation center.

SPU’s security technology was put to the test in 2014 when the campus experienced an active shooter attack. One student was killed and two students were injured during the ordeal. The perpetrator was not a student or someone who frequented the campus.

At The Great Conversation in Security that took place in Seattle March 4 and 5, SPU Associate Director of Security Cheryl Michaels provided an in-depth overview of the lessons her school learned from that tragedy.

In this video with Campus Safety magazine, Michaels describes how the school’s various security technologies, as well as its dispatchers, officers, staff and students, responded to this tragedy.

She also describes how SPU, a small college with only 4,000 students, was able to adopt and continues to adopt the latest security technology under the guidance of Director of Safety and Security Mark Reid.

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

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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3 responses to “Big Time Security on a Small College Campus”

  1. Josh says:

    Hopefully they have trained their security guards to find the shooter before rendering aid now.

  2. Nicholas A. Smith, Jr., CPP says:

    Excellent article and video interview of the SPU security leader. The University’s commitment to providing security systems, a mass notification tool, and a competent campus security cadre resulted no doubt in lives saved and reputation enhanced. Strong ROI on security spend is evident and SPU goes forward with all stakeholders (students, faculty, potential applicants, staff, parents) likely confident about campus emergency readiness and security.

  3. Paul Mains says:

    A well thought out practical response that avoided the pressure, problems, and expense that come with “Do it all right now.” Kudos.

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