Closer Look: College Campus Safety


"As I was running down the sidewalk away from Fletcher Hall, I just kept asking people around me, is this for real? Is this for real," aked survivor George Gaynor.

Unfortunately for the students of Northern Illinois University the reality was true.

On Wednesday a 27-year-old former graduate student opened fire in a lecture hall killing six, including himself.

That news now marks the second college shooting in the last year.

Now college campuses like Arkansas State University are evaluating their readiness once again.

"You can prepare yourself mentally. I think you can go through a lot of scenario based training, but from what I'm reading that happened in Northern Illinois, that would be very hard to prepare for," said Police Chief Jim Chapman.

Chapman has been in law enforcement for over twenty years, but he says when he took on his role at the university, along with it came huge responsibility.

"We are acting essentially in locoparentus, and it very much is our responsibility to make sure that their environment is safe, that they are safe, and that their friends are safe," said Chapman.

The campus already has an emergency alert system in place.

"When that's activated, we can get a message that will come over this telephone, through our email system, and any cell phones that are registered on it," said Chapman.

He says quick notification is important because every second could mean the life of a student or faculty member.

So he stresses to his staff just how important it is to learn from situations like Northern Illinois and Virginia Tech.

"Perhaps somewhere in the future we can make that one little thing different, one little step, one little process a little bit different, a little bit better. Hopefully we can prevent something like that from happening here," said Chapman.

As of now the Northern Illinois campus remains closed as police investigate and families and friends deal with the tragedy.

We are told 22 people were shot before the shooting spree was over.

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