I want to thank Burk McBride, our public safety director, and Jordan Hamill, the residence hall director, for their immediate response to the gunshot heard in the dormitory on Thursday, June 27.
Creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for our students, staff, and faculty is a top priority for College of the Redwoods, and the Board of Trustees and Administration take this responsibility and incidents like this very seriously. This incident, coupled with shootings at educational institutions and community settings throughout the United States, have prompted the Administration and the Board of Trustees to prioritize ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to College of the Redwoods.
To that end, the Board approved my recommendation at its June board meeting to establish a police department. CR join several other California Community Colleges in establishing a police department. Butte-Glenn, Cerritos, Cuesta, Chaffey, Contra Costa, Foothill DeAnza, Marin, Merced, Pasadena, San Jose-Evergreen, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Sequoias, and State Center have police departments.
The approach the Administration has taken to improve the security of the campus involves several components:
- Enhancing the College’s emergency response protocols;
- Training faculty, staff and students to react to an active shooter event;
- Installing safety mechanisms in new building construction;
- Relying on faculty and staff to identify students who exhibit uncertain behaviors early, before they show up with a weapon, rather than trying to make it hard for them once they’re already at the building with a weapon;
- Improving technology such as texting to immediately notify students and staff of potential emergencies;
- Replacing cameras in the parking lot; and
- Creating a hybrid police department made up of sworn officers and unsworn security officers.
We are in the process of hiring a chief of police. The new chief will oversee a police department that will provide comprehensive law enforcement services that enhance the educational mission of the College and safeguard the district’s assets, students, faculty, and classified personnel.