The federal government requires every college to file an annual campus security report. The report identifies certain crimes committed on college campuses. In 2017, Clark State had no reportable crimes committed on any of their three campuses, but Clark State continues to keep safety a top priority.
“Clark State continues to nurture a culture of safety,” said Tom Duffee, EMS program coordinator and risk management coordinator for Clark State. “We are addressing, anticipating and mitigating emergency incidents before they occur. One can’t prevent all incidents, but we are very pleased that during 2017 Clark State, once again, had no reportable incidents at any of our campuses.”
Duffee said safety is a collective responsibility, and Clark State relies on every member of its campus to contribute to security by using a common sense approach and reporting suspicious activity when observed.
“The safety experienced on campus is also due to the combined efforts of many different departments and individuals, including officers from the Springfield Police Division and cadets in our Criminal Justice program at the Springfield campuses; Moonlight Security at the Greene Center in Beavercreek and officers from the Bellefontaine Police Department at the Ohio Hi-Point location,” he said.
Clark State also maintains a three-tiered safety structure, including a safety committee, building project officers and a crisis response team. The safety committee is charged with funneling safety concerns from the staff and faculty to administration; building project officers offer a decentralized strategy of volunteer staff and faculty who are intimately familiar with the emergency plans and are charged with initiating a response to an emergency incident; and the crisis response team is a management team charged with establishing a wider institutional response to a large emergency incident.
“We are constantly surveying our current processes and infrastructure to determine how we may improve safety awareness and response,” said Duffee. “Our goal is to support an overriding culture of safety – trying to anticipate and prevent emergency incidents from the everyday issues to the most catastrophic.”
All employees have access to Clark State’s Mobile Emergency Response Plan, and specific verbiage is included on every syllabus for each class taught at Clark State.
Duffee said Clark State is also focusing on improving communication strategies on campus. “We implemented a new software program that permits us to interrupt every PC on campus with an emergency alert,” he said. “Our plan is to combine that strategy with our current capability of sending instantaneous emergency text and e-mail notifications to students, faculty and staff.”
By sending alerts using these technologies, Clark State is able to keep everyone associated with the college informed of any ongoing emergency events, along with directions on how to maximize personal safety in light of those events.
Ensuring safety on campus is a joint community effort. Clark State maintains a close relationship with the City of Springfield Police Division, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Emergency Management Agency, the Springfield Fire and Rescue Division and the Beavercreek Police Department; all agencies that would respond to any incident at Clark State.
“We continue to have a close relationship with Wittenberg University and periodically fine-tune our coordinated response plans,” said Duffee. “Wittenberg sends representatives to our emergency drills, and we attend theirs.”
Duffee said the Safety Committee identified communications as an area that required institutional attention. Emergent notification of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors is both an ethical and legally mandated requirement.
Additional Implemented Safety Measures Include:
• Hand-held radios: Thirty hand-held radios were purchased permitting Clark State emergency response teams to coordinate actions and execute response strategies. These radios also allow school representatives to communicate with Springfield City police, fire and EMS personnel who would be responding to campus emergencies. The radios permit both internal and external emergency communications.
• Notification beacons: These wall-mounted annunciator devices, triggered by mass notification system (MNS) activation now permit Clark State to notify visitors and occupants in areas not served by other notification strategies. These annunciators release a 105 decibel alerting tone and have a visual alerting status along with a written emergency notification message. The devices chosen for purchase integrate with our already-established MNS capabilities.
• Use of office phones as emergency alerting devices: A software capability that allows all Clark State phones to broadcast and display an emergency alert completes our communications strategy. The identified software integrates with our other MSN strategies.
• Security cameras: Increased number of security cameras has permitted us to monitor every building entrance and every identified area of money exchange.