Public Safety remains confident as campus expands

Aron Ammann

Staff Writer

Illustration courtesy of Public Safety/Parkland College

Illustration courtesy of Public Safety/Parkland College

With shootings at schools around the country making headlines in recent years, and in a world in which violence seems to be an everyday occurrence, the campus safety here at Parkland is a top priority for Public Safety. With the new additions to Parkland College, and so much more ground to cover for Public Safety, some might ask whether or not we are still safe on campus.

Parkland student Abdi Adan feels somewhat safe on campus when attending classes. However, he did his concern for the amount of entrances and people on campus.

“Anyone can do anything in a split second, in a whole different wing, and there wouldn’t be enough force to stop them,” Adan explained.

Parkland student Anthony Thomas remarked that he still feels safe on campus and his safety is never really on his mind while at Parkland.

“I fully trust that the police and public safety have my back when I’m on campus,” Thomas stated. “My main focus when I’m here is to get my school work done and I’m glad that is all I have to worry about.”

William Colbrook, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, stated that, while there is no credible threat of violence at Parkland College, all one needs to do is turn on the national news to see that it can happen anywhere. With that said, Colbrook also assured that his officers and department are fully capable of handling any emergency that may happen on campus.

The mission statement found on the Parkland website, at http://www.parkland.edu/police, states that Public Safety seek to ensure a safe and secure campus environment for the more than 10,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“We will do everything possible to ensure your safety, by providing a visible presence and deterrent to disruptions,” the website read.

The student body can also assist with the safety of the campus. Students should be alert and aware of their surroundings and the actions of their fellow students. If they witness something suspicious, or see a crime being committed, they should contact campus police by calling 911 on any campus phone. Students can also reach the non-emergency line by calling 217-351-2369.

Another way for Parkland Students to be prepared for an emergency situation is by signing up for the Immediate Response Information System. IRIS allows Parkland to notify students and their family members by phone, text message, and email about a serious emergency occurring on campus. Another positive aspect of IRIS is that it also notifies students of campus closings due to inclement weather.

Colbrook suggests that every student sign up for IRIS to be prepared for an emergency on campus. With most every student having a cell phone, tablet, or laptop with them throughout the day, an emergency on campus will not go unannounced to those signed up for the IRIS App.

Colbrook added that those serving in his department are first responders and EMT’s, and are trained to evaluate and triage medical emergencies that might arise on the campus.

The Public Safety Officers have met all the training requirements, have been commissioned by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, and have been granted all the rights and privileges as conservators of the peace as outlined by state statute. They also continue training throughout the year to stay sharp and prepared, which includes an active shooter training that has happened during Parkland’s Spring Break the last several years.

There are also several locations on campus being monitored by security cameras, giving the Public Safety one more asset to deter and stop any crime or emergency that can happen.

Other services provided by Parkland Police and Public Safety include exterior emergency call boxes on buildings and in parking lots, AED defibrillator locations, lost & found, safety escorts, vehicle assistance and rescue assistance areas. Rescue assistance areas throughout campus marked with illuminated signs are a gathering point for individuals that need assistance being evacuated in case of a campus emergency.

The officers and staff of the campus police stand ready, committed, and willing to serve you and the college community 24 hours a day.

To register for the Immediate Response Information System, visit http://bit.ly/1qdAodt.