The recent incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School brought to the forefront concerns about gun safety and campus security on all school campuses. With Rollins’ open campus, Campus Safety is well-equipped to handle any potential threats; however, the success of their strategies relies on the proactiveness of the Rollins community.
Ken Miller, assistant vice president of public safety, acknowledged the safety concerns associated with having a campus that is accessible to the wider community. Miller stated that Campus Safety has tried to limit access points and add appropriate security systems to help control access and improve security. “However, by our very nature, we are an open campus, and the steps we take are done to mitigate, not eliminate potential threats,” he said.
Miller said, “determining who should be on college campuses is a struggle for everyone in higher education public safety. We rely on the community and our staff to use behavior-based decisions on if a person should be on our campus. It is not an exact science.”
However, these tactics succeed at Rollins because of its small size and close-knit community.
Miller said, “Our campus is small enough that many of our staff members develop relationships with students, faculty, and staff. If for some reason a person exhibits behavior that is not consistent or is concerning in some way, we will certainly approach them and determine why they are here.”
In the event that an immediate threat to campus security is identified, Campus Safety activates the R-Alert emergency communication system to provide the Rollins community with timely information through text, email, and phone.
In the case of an armed individual on campus, the R-Alerts would notify students and faculty to implement the Shelter-in-Place policy. After initial R-Alert emergency communication, all information and updates are made available on the website: emergency.rollins.edu.
Miller stated that the Shelter-in-Place policy “has been tested in a variety of ways, from a full-scale exercise using multiple law-enforcement agencies to something as simple as a text to all faculty asking them to take 10-15 minutes to discuss safety in their classroom and what they would do if there truly was an emergency.”
Campus Safety is required to conduct a minimum of one Emergency Response test per year. This test may be in the form of an exercise and a drill, which tests a procedural operation or technical system.
The R-Alert emergency communication system is also tested on a regular and annual basis. Extra testing is conducted in April, during Severe Weather Awareness Week, and September, during National Preparedness Month.
When asked how previous threats to campus security were addressed, Miller said, “we work and communicate with our local law-enforcement partners to respond quickly and appropriately. We are not dissimilar from any other college or university in the country as it relates to the general public, access, and responding to disruptive behavior.”
Miller continued, “our preference is to focus heavily on prevention through the use of behavioral intervention teams and facilitating the process for community members to share information if they have a concern.”
If you ever witness any suspicious or unusual behavior from individuals on campus, report it to Campus Safety at 407-646-2999.
For your safety and the safety of the community, it is imperative that each of us remain aware and vigilant.
The Shelter-in-Place policy is outlined in the Emergency Operations Plan within the 2017
Annual Safety & Fire Safety Report as follows:
• If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone to be used to communicate. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
• Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be:
– An interior room
– Above ground level
– Without windows or with the least
number of windows
– If there is a large group of people inside a
particular building, several rooms may be necessary.
• Shut and lock all windows and close exterior doors.
• Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans, if possible.
• Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able.
• Make a list of the people with you and ask someone to call the list in to Rollins College Campus Safety at 407-646-2999.
• Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
• Remain calm and make yourself comfortable.