Campus Continues With Safety Precautions

Sose Frankyan

Students, faculty and staff feel protected on campus even after the tragic events that occurred at Virginia Tech. On April 16, 32 Virginia Tech students died at the hands of Seung-Hui Cho who was diagnosed with mental illness.

“This definitely heightened everyone’s attention throughout the nation, not just at Glendale College,” said President/Superintendent Audre Levy.
According to the Board of Trustees President Armine Hacopian, “we have been looking at ways to work with the Glendale Police Department for incidents such as Virginia Tech, creating task forces and seminars for students to attend.” Also, for the future we are looking at “alert notice” notifications to be sent out to students’ cell phones informing them of such incidents with instructions guiding them where to go for safety and what to do.

Glendale College Police Department is a highly regarded police force and is certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification.

According to Campus Police Chief Steve Wagg “every officer has the same credentials and authority as any other POST certified law enforcement agency in the State of California.”

“Several years ago the Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to allow our campus police to carry firearms on them,” said Board of Trustees Vice President Victor King. We live in a society where sometimes bad things happen and “in order to have a safe environment on campus our police officers need to have side arms,” added King.

College police officers train throughout the year and every member is qualified with their weapon once a month and receives “active shooter” training twice a year.

Virginia Tech was an active shooter situation and “our police officers are prepared to immediately respond to an active shooter incident and take the appropriate action,” said Wagg. Immediate police action is the key to dealing with an active shooter.

“As a student here, I feel very comfortable attending Glendale College although I know that any day some crazy person might show up with a gun to school and start shooting at us,” said Andre Gonzalez.

“At this stage of a game, it is usually an adolescent male that feels cut off or disenfranchised from a group and has psychological problems that turns into violent acts as a solution to his problems,” said psychology professor Jessica Gillooly.
Glendale College currently does not have any students who are a threat to themselves or to others.

“The Board of Trustees has the authority to dismiss anyone from school who is a threat to others on campus and I know they have used this power before on a student on campus who has been a problem,” said Department Chair and history professor, Peggy Renner.

Our campus is a peaceful place and “our police cadets are more alert since Virginia Tech and often sit in cars next to the student center ready to respond in case something happens,” said student trustee and ASGCC president David Arakelyan.

Campuses are a very safe place because “people who really want to learn come to college,” said Levy.
“The first few days of Virginia Tech I was a little nervous attending school, but I don’t think such an incident could happen on our campus since we are in a community that is fairly stable and safe,” said student Angelica Campos.

According to King, “we are better prepared to act in violent situations than a lot of community colleges.”

“Most other community colleges don’t have police forces at all, and some colleges don’t have police officers with firearms,” he added.

The Board of Trustees voted to establish the Glendale College Police Department in 1993 and voted to allow the use of firearms in 1997.

Campus police officers actively patrol the campus on foot and interact with students, faculty and staff.

“This interaction gives us an opportunity to receive information that may assist us in prevention of this type of criminal act,” said Wagg.

It is important for students, staff and faculty to understand that all security concerns should be directed to campus police.

“You [students] know troubled students in ways that we don’t know them and at times you think you could handle the situation on your own, but that is not the right thing to do,” said King.

“Let us know of trouble students and we will be able to do something about it on time so that it will not become a major problem later on,” he added.