University of Memphis Examines School Safety Following California Shooting Spree
(Memphis) At the University of Memphis campus, safety and preparedness are always on the mind of Bruce Harber.
He’s the director of public safety, “Whenever one of these incidents happen you always start saying, okay, what would we have done?”
Even though Monday’s execution-style killing of seven people at a small religious college happened in Oakland, California, Harber is still concerned and he wants to make sure the Memphis campus is always ready to handle any crisis.
Harber said, “You can never be completely prepared, but it makes you go back and kind of do a recheck and say do we have the things in place that we feel we need in place today?”
In the aftermath of the California shooting, Oakland police used social media such as Twitter to alert people about the shooting.
In the event of an emergency at the U-of-M, email alerts are sent out to anyone with a memphis.edu email account and thousands of students such as Mallorie Denton and Michelle Williams have signed up for instant messages via their cell phone called TigerText.
Denton said, “My mother even receives TigerText and if I’m in class and don’t answer the TigerText I know to respond to my mother. So, when she texts me and says are you safe, what’s going on campus then that further updates myself and my family.”
Michelle Williams agrees that sharing information makes students feel safer.
Williams said, “You hear about everything and they tell you what’s going on. So, you kind of know and it helps out when there’s a storm or something.”
The Memphis campus also has phone trees, security cameras, and outdoor warning towers.
Recently, campus police hosted a training exercise along with the FBI and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for handling an active shooter like the one in California all in the name of safety and preparedness.
Harber said, “It can happen anywhere on large universities or as we saw yesterday a small, private religious based institution, you can’t predict. So, everyone has to be as prepared.”
The University of Memphis also has a Crisis Management Team in place.
It meets on a regular basis and its plan is available online at www.memphis.edu/crisis