by Sean Hull
The campus was locked down on reports of a woman wielding a “long gun” last year on Sept. 4. For five hours, students and faculty were forced to remain hunkered down in their rooms and offices while the Overland Park SWAT team worked with campus police to scour the campus and dispatch the supposed threat.
Read our coverage of the event: Campus police lift lockdown after a suspicious person on campus was reported
One year later many unknowns remain. It is not known who the woman was, and speculation persists that the whole event was a reaction to a false report. Nonetheless, confidence in the JCCC Police Department has not wavered, and students feel as safe as ever.
“Honestly, I don’t feel unsafe at all,” says first-year student Bekah Rogers. “I was a little bit nervous coming in, but now that I’m here it’s a very safe and friendly environment. I’m not worried at all.”
Many first-year students are unaware of what happened last year, but first impressions of the campus police department instilled confidence in many.
“Nobody got hurt, so it looks like campus police are doing their jobs,” said student Monica Fruit.
Chloe Hansen was a little more apprehensive, but trusts in the police.
“It’s kind of scary, but I always see police around campus, so I’m not extremely scared,” Hansen said.
Many people have become used to the presence of firearms, which has made them more comfortable around people with guns.
“I’m not really scared of people with guns,” said student Jace Beleren. “I recognize that it’s dangerous, but I’m not really concerned about it.”
Student Gabe Linabary cites his upbringing in Montana as to why he is comfortable around guns. “I grew up in Montana, so I don’t really care much about a gun since I grew up with them. I use them. A gun is a gun.”
On the anniversary of one the most terrifying moments in the college’s history, students maintain confidence that they are protected by their campus police.