Campus security audit in progress
College sets new standards for safety on main campus
By Julius Williams
Security Risk Management Corporation, Inc., was contracted to do the first ever safety and security audit for the college. The Ohio-based firm will view a wide scope of the college’s emergency response capabilities.
“We wanted to get a current picture of the college from an outside perspective,” said Alisa Pacer, emergency preparedness manager.
Pacer believes it is a necessary first step in an ongoing process to measure what areas of safety and security are working and what areas need improvement. She said the college’s ability to measure its progress is key to sustaining its commitment to providing a safe and secure campus.
Pacer is fairly new to the college but not to security. Her position at the college was created nearly three years ago. Before joining the college, she was an emergency management consultant for over 13 years, and she presently sits as the president of the board of directors for a local agency called The Partnership for Emergency Planning (http://www.pepkc.org).
“We are setting a baseline,” Pacer said. “We are setting standards and creating objectives to measure progress.”
The audit is being conducted through the college’s Office of Emergency Management with funding from the U.S. Dept. of Education. According to the September Board of Trustees meeting packet, the audit consists of “how the college’s facilities and grounds affect overall campus security, identification of strengths and vulnerabilities, and what violence prevention strategies would be most beneficial in setting a baseline for the campus.”
Pacer said her office has been planning the audit since January.
“It’s our first audit,” Pacer said. “The crisis management team has been working on this for a year. It is a look at our policies and procedures, how they conform to standard college and university practices, and how we can measure our progress over time.”
Pacer said the audit will include physical site surveys to look at such things as video surveillance and access control, but it will also review the college’s emergency plans and training programs.
Dennis Day, vice president of Student Success and Engagement, is also part of the emergency management team.
“It’s about our ability to respond,” Day said. “We are looking at cameras, lighting and monitoring systems. We are also looking at whether we have enough officers on duty to respond appropriately to incidents.”
Day said he expects the audit to be comprehensive. It will look at policies and procedures, training and delegation of responsibilities.
“What do you do in an emergency?” Day asked. “How prepared are we for emergencies, and do members of our community know how to handle emergencies?”
There are dozens of details to consider, including seemingly insignificant details that could have a huge impact. For example, most people would dial 911 in an emergency, but the campus also has an emergency extension 4111, which connects callers to the college’s police department.
Day says the college’s police department is better equipped to coordinate with local law enforcement for emergencies. A local police officer may not know the difference between the GEB or SC buildings and precious minutes could be lost.
Janelle Vogler, executive director of audit and advisory services, said the college needs the audit to get data and feedback on what the college does well and where it can improve.
“We didn’t have any particular focus in mind, other than getting the best practices data for our campus and building from there,” Vogler said.
The audit will conclude in mid-December.
Contact Julius Williams, staff reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.