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MAIN STORY A growing buzz steadily spread across campus.

Some were notified on cellphone or by e-mail by the campus alert system. Others learned about the growing police activity through word-of-mouth. The report was that there was a man with a gun near the new Wintergreen parking garage and police from Hamden, New Haven and Southern Campus Police were on the hunt. Traffic snarled around the intersecting streets as officers on March 13 searched the area of the Hamden transit station just outside of campus. While no gunman was found, this incident, combined with the brazen shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 in Newtown, has left many wondering just how safe is Southerns campus? We are not a campus that sits up on a hill with one way in and one way out, explained Southern Chief Joseph Dooley, in a recent interview about campus security. In the gunman case, Southern police worked with the other officers to set up a perimeter around the campus and sent out e-mails and text alerts notifying students and staff to shelter in place, or to not leave classrooms. Many students said they did not know about the happenings until it was over. It was all very confusing, said Katerine Flores, a senior liberal studies major, who adds she does not feel there are enough protocols in place. I didnt know if we were on lock down or not, and what to do, if we were on one.

Southern has a host of safety procedures in place to keep students and faculty safe during emergency situations, which Dooley referred to as layers. The first layer he said is the SCSU alert, which consists of text messaging, phone calls and e-mail. When an emergency takes place on campus, students and faculty signed up for the program get an alert to their phone letting them know what is happening and what precautions to take. Dooley said his biggest concern with this is that people have to be signed up for the program. Jessica Petruzzelli, a junior education major, uses the program for its advantages. I get text alerts and emails sent to my phone. I like that we use text alerts so I hear about it first, said Petruzzelli. Another security layer is the siren public address system. There are five speakers placed strategically around the campus, and in the case of an intruder, or a severe weather warning, the speakers emit a series of distinct sounds followed by a digital pre-recorded message or a live public address from Dooley himself. For the third layer the police department works extensively with the campus public affairs office to put up messages on the schools homepage with information pertaining to the emergency. Well put into a timeline whats transpiring and [what] to do next, said Dooley. The campus police is one of the 99 organized police departments in the state. There are always, at least, three officers on duty and someone in the

police station 24/7. The 27 police officer force seen patrolling the grounds are not just security, as students may think, they are all armed and have gone through standard police training. Southerns police force conducts a training initiative every summer, as well as a recertification every three years. Officer Ivan Torres, who can be seen doing bicycle patrols in the early morning hours, said most police departments do not do this as frequently as Southern. The campus, which spans the two geographic communities of New Haven and Hamden, has close to 200 surveillance cameras throughout. There are cameras in all the parking garages, including 75 new high tech units in the new garage. The visible presence of the camera is a deterrent to crime, said Dooley. In 2008, the streetlights were updated on Farnham Avenue, as well as on the North Campus walkway. Heightened commuter safety techniques have been put in place since the Sandy Hook shootings with more night time surveillance in parking lots through officer patrols and watching cameras. Interim Residence Life Director Robert DeMezzo said he feels the campus police do a good job especially as compared to some other colleges. I feel like with our campus police, theres no them or us and we really work together to make sure the students are safe, said DeMezzo.

Dooley said he has been looking ahead for more ways to protect the Southern community. Some of his plans include making sure there is a landline telephone in every classroom, and outfitting classroom doors with push button locks, as well as getting the commuter population more engaged with educational programs. The next big project he wants to undertake is Campus Civilian Emergency Response Team, where individuals on campus would be trained to be building marshals. The police department has just wrapped production on its campus safety video with the help of the SCSU Communication Department. It will be shown at new student orientation sessions. With all these new items Dooley wants to put into action, and with the current safety measures that are already in place, he sees hope for the future. Im an optimist by nature, and I believe things will get better, said Dooley.