Local news channels are apparently having slow news days. Various networks have done an excellent job tearing down the reputation of the North Lake College Police Department due to a semi-recent communication gaffe.
To recap, there was a communication breakdown during an active shooter drill in NLC’s T-Building in early October. The people on the top floor where the dramatization took place knew about the drill, but the floor below was unaware— despite emails being sent to staff and faculty twice.
The NLCPD has admitted its mistake and has taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but they are still getting a bad rap from the media. Three weeks after the mishap, the officers conducted another active shooter drill, but this time with the communication errors fixed.
More warning signs were placed in every classroom affected by the drill, announcements were made over intercoms, and a slew of emails went out to all faculty and staff instructing them to warn their students about the upcoming drill.
Despite NLCPD’s efforts, local news stations, which elected to run not one, but two stories on the incident, chose to focus purely on the negativity of the situation rather than acknowledge the improvements and the positive responses from NLC’s population.
What they failed to recognize is that NLC students and faculty responded just the way they were supposed to because of the training that the NLCPD has presented during these drills. Students ran away when they realized the area was clear, locked and barracaded doors and prepared themselves physically for what might happen. They also called the police to make sure response was as immediate as possible.
The NLCPD has done its best to prepare the NLC populous for the worst, and although students and faculty should never have to be first responders, the shooting training on campus has prepared them to be if the time comes.
No matter what type of poor publicity comes of this minor setback, NLC looks out for its own. This isn’t just a police issue anymore — it’s a campus issue.
Aside from the training, resources for safety and compliance are always available at NLC. The police are on duty 24 hours a day and are working diligently with campus counselors, faculty and staff to preemptively identify threats. NLCPD has helped employees on campus to more accurately recognize warning signs of troubled individuals. This will help everyone be more proactive rather than reactive. Also, students are highly encouraged to report any type of suspicious behavior that could prevent potential on-site atrocities.
With actions like these by the NLCPD, it’s no wonder the college was ranked No. 24 in the nation in campus safety. Now, that’s a story.
In the meantime, we’re all in this together, not just as students passing each other in the hall, but as a community that has everyone’s best interest in mind. So ignore those sensationalized broadcasts and remember, there are people here who have your back.