Former Police Officers Working Toward Safer Campus at KC
The Department of Public Safety at Kaskaskia College has undergone some serious changes since the beginning of the academic year. In October of 2019, College President George Evans hired three experienced police officers to work on campus in order to ensure the safety and protection of students, faculty, and staff.
The police officers hired include retired Centralia Police Chief Brian Atchison as well as two former officers from the Vandalia Police Department, Shanon Neiber and Todd Wagner. These three officers work alongside Jeff Brown, former Bond County Sheriff and current Director of Public Safety.
The officers patrol campus for suspicious behavior and set new protocols and programs in case of emergencies. Evacuation plans have been implemented in case of a violent threat entering campus, and the officers have plans to conduct emergency drills with the students in the near future.
Changes have also been made to the campus itself to create a safer environment. Devices called “lock-downs” are being installed in rooms on main campus and extension centers. These devices slide into a slot made at the bottom of a door to prevent it from opening. Thumb-turn deadbolts have also been placed on the inside of classroom doors that were not previously lockable. Current camera systems are in the process of being upgraded for better quality pictures, and wooded areas surrounding campus are being cleared of underbrush to provide a visible line of sight through them.
“The students and staff feel safer and parents feel better about sending their children here. We want to keep everyone safe and secure,” said Brown.
The main reason for this update to Campus Security, according to Brown, is due to current events happening in our society today.
“If you see the news today, there is a lot of school and workplace violence,” he said, “The school thought they needed to step up and take action to prevent these things from happening.”
Brown said the main duty of the officers is to patrol campus and respond to crises. All of the officers are armed and fully trained from their past years of police duty. According to Brown, there is about 120 years of experience total between him and the other three officers.
“We’re not here to enforce the law so much,” said Brown, “but we are here to keep students and faculty safe.”