How UofL, UK and IU Southeast Handle Campus Security
In the past year, both Indiana University Southeast and the University of Kentucky have had incidences of armed gunmen on campus, and the University of Louisville has had to deal with violent crimes near the school’s Belknap campus. The gunman scares at UK and IUS ended as false alarms, but what have all three schools done to improve the safety of their campuses?Here’s a roundup.The University of LouisvilleUniversity of Louisville spokesman Mark Hebert said the university is responding to recent violent crimes in the area by expanding its police department. U of L will soon hire four more police officers and four more security officers.“We felt like we needed to step up the security, not just on campus but the two and three blocks around the Belknap campus,” Hebert said. “That’s what prompted the move to go ahead and add these increased security measures.”Hebert said that there are “blue lights” throughout the campus where students are able to call the direct line to the university’s police department if they feel unsafe. And in addition to the call boxes, U of L offers a shuttle service that escorts students to and from the campus to their residences.“Any time a student can call, day or night, and say ‘I don't want to walk home from the library to my apartment which is a couple blocks off campus, can I have an escort to take me to my apartment?’ and they will do that at any time,” Hebert said.Hebert said the university police work in tandem with Louisville Metro Police on a variety of calls—both for events that happen on campus, and those that happen off-campus and involve students.“We go above and beyond the call of duty at the University of Louisville and beyond our borders of our actual campus to try and keep our students safe," he said.All of these measures—the lights, the police and the shuttle service—have been in place for several years for students to utilize, Hebert said.He said that the university is overall a safe campus. Though he couldn’t say how many incidences happen and are resolved, he said that the crimes that do happen are normally non-violent and do not happen often.“The University of Louisville has a very safe campus, but anything we can do to make it safer and to make our students feel safer we're going to go ahead and do it and spend the money because safety is our top priority,” Hebert said.He said that a recent expansion of the shuttle service has been popular with students and on average has 50 students using it each evening.Indiana University SoutheastWithin the past year, IU Southeast has hadtwo reports of an armed person on the campus. Both were found to be false alarms and no serious threat had taken place. But IU Southeast Chief of Police Charles Edelen said that in both cases, the department answered the reports in the same way.“We went to that location and tried to locate the person described by the witness. When we weren't able to find the person we sent out the emergency notification of the report to let everybody know, ‘Hey this is what's going on, we've had a report,’” Edelen said. “We also contacted other law enforcement agencies around to assist. They responded and then we began a search of the campus.”Edelen said that there was a delay in alerting the campus about the potential threat, he would have liked to get the message out quicker. One of the delays was due to an outdated color printer, and he said his department hopes to buy a new color printer to speed the process of printing handouts with the image of a suspect.“The camera system was very helpful in this last incident and we’ve decided that we really need to get a color printer hooked up to that video camera system so if we do need to print something and hand it out to officers so that we can do that much quicker,” Edelen said.He said that the university is the process of hiring a lieutenant to help in the department. Edelen said that would have been helpful in the most recent gunman scare—in September—since he was not on the campus while the search was going on.“I think that will help to have a backup for me and this kind of situation and have somebody to help direct what's going to happen is very helpful,” Edelen said. “I wasn't on campus when this event happened but I think the way it turned out everything worked well, but to have myself and a lieutenant would definitely help.”Edelen said that the officers at the university go through active shooter training they train with the New Albany Police Department. A few years ago, the local departments also participated in a live shooting simulation.“People were shooting simulations at us and we were shooting back that really gets the heart rate going and it’s a great way to learn how to respond,” Edelen said.He said that they are actively working on getting another exercise in the next year, but that is still pending discussions with the university’s administration.University of KentuckyOn Sept. 28, 2014, the University of Kentucky had a gun scare that resulted in four of the university’s football players being suspended. The players had fired an airsoft gun—a replica firearm that fires projectiles—on campus, and carrying any type of firearm is against the campus policy.University of Kentucky Chief of Police Joe Monroe said that the university police did a good job securing the area quickly. He said the debriefing on what the police department could have done better is still ongoing process and officers are still conducting interviews on campus with the people involved.The University of Kentucky spent $5 million on a new security system several years ago, and Monroe said that system helped identify those involved in the recent event.“Basically we put in close to a thousand cameras on campus at this point and still putting new ones in as additional projects are being constructed on campus,” Monroe said.He said the cameras were able to assist in finding the suspects that fit the description and the department immediately released the video to the public. He said within minutes, officers were able to identify those suspects.Monroe said that the university police department works closely with the Lexington Police Department on incidents on or near campus.