Campus Lockdowns During Emergency Called Impossible
A complete lockdown of the Virginia Tech campus during the 2007 shootings that left 32 people plus the gunman dead would have been impossible, George Mason University Chief of Police Michael Lynch says.
Lynch spoke at the second annual Governor's Campus Preparedness Conference, a meeting of more than 500 college and university officials to discuss prevention of and response to campus tragedies.
"I know that I can't lock down George Mason University, so I don't call it impractical - I call it impossible," Lynch said during a session on campus lockdowns. The conference was held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
According to HamptonRoads.com, campus security officials urged college administrators and the news media to refrain from using the term "lockdown," because it is misleading and offers a false sense of security. College campuses typically span miles, have open borders and cannot be completely secured, the officials said.
The conference was proposed last year by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine as a way for college and university officials to share ideas for making campuses safer. More than 700 people attended last year's conference, which was held four months after the Virginia Tech shootings.
While that conference focused on campus shootings, the scope this year was broadened to include disasters, from hurricanes and tornadoes to pandemics and outbreaks.
Many speakers advised college officials to communicate with the public quickly during a tragedy and document every decision, HamptonRoads.com reports.
"Once something like this happens, your entire campus is a crime scene," says Bob Dillard, University of Richmond chief of police. He discussed the challenges he faced in May when trying to communicate with the public after a person carrying a gun was spotted on campus.
"Remember," Dillard said, "statistically, college campuses are still one of the safest places you can be."
Colud a lot safer if they allowwed CCW:king: