Learning Lessons From Virginia Tech
April 16th, 2007 is a day that will go down in American history. A gunman at Virginia Tech opened fire on campus, killing 32 students and teachers before taking his own life. Lt. George Jackson from the Virginia Tech Police Department remembers the day well.
"The fact that we had a large law enforcement presence on campus that day, and responded quickly, it certainly contributed to preventing additional casualties, and injuries, and loss of life," said Jackson.
Jackson said his agency learned a lot that day about responding to a crisis on campus, and they often share that knowledge at conferences like the one at Santa Fe Community College.
In part of his speech, Jackson described in detail how the shootings occurred. His presentation also gives specific instructions of how to respond to an active shooter on campus, so only law enforcement officers are allowed to listen in.
"Time is critical," said Jackson. "This whole entire incident for our campus took approximately nine minutes, once the call from the active shooter was received, so it's not a whole lot of time."
This was a message that officers in attendance, like SFCC Police Chief Daryl Johnston took to heart.
"Strengthen the assets we have, identify the gaps we have, particularly in our emergency notifications systems, find the resources to fix those gaps, and to continue to refine both our training and our procedures," said Johnston.
Johnston says one step that Santa Fe is taking after having a gunman on their own campus this past February is to install speakers in every building on campus so they can quickly spread the message during an emergency.
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