Midland College’s recent emergency shelter-in-place drills on campus were a relative success, according to Chief of Campus Police Richard McKee.
“To my knowledge this is the first drill we have ever done,” McKee said. “I would like to have a drill every semester or at least once every year. While today’s went very smoothly, I would like to think that was because it was very well publicized. We emailed teachers and staff so people would know it would be this time, so there would be as little disruption in classes as possible.”
McKee said he would like to eventually have a surprise shelter-in-place drill for the campus, just to see how well the students and staff would react and if they would still be as orderly and compliant as they were for this first drill.
“Overall I am happy with how it turned out,” he said. “There were some issues that are being addressed and they can be fixed, but I look for this to be an ongoing deal. Maybe (there) will not always be a lock down drill. Maybe a fire or tornado drill can also be put into the works.”
While the teachers have all gone through a class on emergency preparedness, the chief still believes there is much to be learned. Teachers are given the opportunity to have the campus police officers come to their classes and give a demonstration to the students on what they can do in an emergency situation.
“When you ask someone if they have a weapon on campus, they’ll say ‘no’ because weapons aren’t allowed on campus,” McKee said. “But what a lot of people don’t realize is that in an emergency, there are so many different makeshift weapons that can be used to stop an attacker.”
These may include different utensils such as pencils, pens, books and even desks.
Student Kristen Mitchell was confused during the drill.
“When I showed up on campus I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone,” she said.
“I had no idea where the other students had gone. When a teacher saw me, she dragged me into her office and told me what was going on. I stayed there until the drill was over and people started coming out of the woodwork,” Kristen added.
The students who knew there was going to be a drill were prepared and showed no distress when the alarm started to go off, McKee observed.
Some were so calm about the situation that they did not care to lock the door or even shut the door.
Police officers were patrolling the campus and found some classes that were open and could possibly be compromised in an emergency situation.
Students and teachers were notified of issues and invited to give their opinion on any issues that may have arisen.