Mass shooting has local college reminding students, staff to be prepared

(WISH Photo)


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon has safety officials at Ivy Tech Community College hoping students and staff are prepared for the worst.

“I really would never think of something like this ever happening at Ivy Tech. I mean, I pray that it won’t,” said freshman Joseph Nigrelli.

Thursday was calm and quiet, the way students have gotten used to at Ivy Tech.

“I feel so safe on college campuses,” said student Emilia Barger. “And when things like [the shooting] happen, it’s like a knock, just to realize that you’re not always quite as safe as you might feel.”

You can’t blame them for feeling that way after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College left more than a dozen either dead or wounded.

“These incidents take place really quick, and so all of our procedures we have in place, they have to go together right away to make sure that everybody’s safe and secure,” said Jason Carroll, Public Safety Director at Ivy Tech. He showed 24-Hour News 8 how his school reacts in an active shooter situation.

“Right here we have Alertness Technologies Alert Beacon,” he said, referencing an alert box on the wall.

Several of them can be found in buildings all across campus. Carroll said he’ll send a message to the alert system, and the boxes will light up and emit a loud tone, followed by an announcement on the PA system.

“We’re the first institution in the state to get the [alert box],” said Carroll.

People are then supposed to clear the halls and lock themselves in a room until help arrives.

And just in case they forgot what to do, alert guides hang on the wall in every classroom. They outline the steps to take during an emergency such as an active shooter, tornado, or fire.

“All staff get training on this guide. The full time faculty get an actual handbook,” said Carroll.

Speaking of staff, security guards constantly patrol the campus. Since they’re unarmed, IMPD also dispatches officers to Ivy Tech.

Carroll says that presence combined with being prepared is the key to staying safe. And so far, students say it’s working.

“For the about an hour a day that I am here I’ve never felt unsafe,” said Barger.

“I mean, I see security guards everywhere in the Culinary Center, which is where I have most of my classes,” said Nigrelli. “There’s always a security guard at the front desk, there’s always somebody outside. I feel pretty secure.”

All of the Ivy Tech Campuses in central Indiana will conduct active shooter drills.

Carroll said they do so every semester and at two different times in a day to try and cover as many students and staff as possible. The next round of drills will happen later this month.

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