Local Schools Evaluate Security

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email

The violence at Virginia Tech is leading local colleges to re-examine their security.

Most campuses, like this one at ASU, are open and when something happens, the challenge is figuring out who is involved and where everyone is.

But the questions they ask and the way they respond could be changing because local police say this recent attack is the first of its kind.

Lots of confusion when police use usual procedures to fight an unusual attack.

They initially respond to gunfire at a dorm, surrounding it to begin their investigation. Hours later, the shooter begins killing again in another part of campus. That has local universities making changes to protect students like John Kain.

"I was horrified! I didn't know what to think," said Kain.

Local police say in situations like this, their plan is to get there as fast as possible and lock everything down. But MCG's Emergency Management Coordinator says that won't always work in cases like this, when it's an inside job.

"It turns out he was a student, and he could have gotten in anywhere,” said William McArdle with MCG’s Emergency Management.

He's been in law enforcement for decades, including 25 years with the FBI, and he says the key is figuring out who you're dealing with, and what motivates their behavior.

"Normally pressure builds up, and they have no one to talk to."

He says mental conditions like that can affect details and timelines. Augusta State University’s Director of Public Safety says that means analyzing each individual situation and each attacker, rather than relying on standard procedure.

"We would be able to do what we need to do until we got support to assist us," said Jasper Cooke.

He says it's time to get ready to react to things they can't predict to protect students like these.

"You just don't think something like that could happen," said Kain.

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