Saturday, July 23, 2016
[San Mateo County] Grand jury calls for safety drills at college campuses
While it lauded the minimal amount of crime across all campuses, the San Mateo County civil grand jury encouraged the San Mateo County Community College District to work with local law enforcement on its safety procedures.
The civil grand jury studied safety, security and emergency preparedness on the county’s three community college campuses — College of San Mateo, Skyline and Cañada College — and recently issued a report with its findings and recommendations.
Various law enforcement agencies, including the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, patrol the campuses and respond in the event of an emergency. The most often reported crimes on these campuses are burglary and car theft. Sexual offenses are rare, according to the grand jury.
The report notes that, due to recent school shootings across the country, the district Board of Trustees started a District Safety Committee that holds monthly meetings to review best practices for public safety. It has commissioned an independent study of best practices in college public safety that will be completed at the end of the year.
The district has developed an emergency response guide for each campus with information on what to do in the event of certain emergencies like an active shooter on site, an explosion or earthquake. Copies are located throughout each site. When there is an emergency, students are notified via text, announcement systems on campuses and other ways.
Lockdown drills are also held every semester at each campus. In addition, each college has a threat assessment team trained in best practices for responding to certain threats.
The grand jury concluded that there should be increased training between campus public safety officials, local law enforcement and other regional emergency responders to ensure they are ready to work together in a major disaster. It recommended that they plan a large-scale training exercise and review emergency protocol at student orientation.
The full report is available at sanmateocourt.org/grandjury.
July 13, 2016
Half Moon Bay Review
By Julia Reis