Police look to make campus safer

UNA Police Department is looking to improve emergency communications on campus.

The plans for future improvements come after a robbery took place near campus Sept. 21. When the police received a tip that a possible suspect was on campus, UNA went under lockdown.

“Lockdown is a very literal term,” said UNA Chief of Police Kevin Gillilan. “Basically what that means is that you remain in place, (and) you secure the area around you until you receive an all clear.”

When police tried to alert campus of the potential danger, some students were not notified because they were not signed up to receive Lion Alerts. So, they did not know the campus was on lockdown.

Lion Alert is an emergency communications system that sends students, faculty and staff notifications in the form of email, voicemail or texts when there is an emergency situation on campus.

Students can sign up to receive Lion Alerts at myschoolcast.com/go/una.

“Last week there was just a lot of craziness and a lot of confusion,” said Student Government Association President Sarah Green. “We tried to do our best to send people to the right places and get them the right information.”

Gillilan said the lockdown revealed problems on campus with students receiving safety information, such as doors not locking and students not having access to electronics.

“We are trying to do some things on campus to provide better information to people,” Gillilan said. “One way is (creating) some new technology with our computer systems. We are also going to set up an emergency tone with a voice announcement so that students know what to do.”

Further computer improvements include more features on the “Send Police” button that is located on each computer. The button will have the capability to send a scrolling message across the computer screen alerting the user of potential danger, Gillilan said.

The “emergency tone” will be an alarm that sounds across campus with an accompanying voice recording to alert campus members of a lockdown, Gillilan said.

Green said she felt a lot of the confusion came from students not signing up to receive Lion Alerts in the event of emergencies.

“I didn’t find out (about the lockdown) until I was on my way to campus because I was never signed up for Lion Alert,” said sophomore Kyle Williams. “(After these recent events), I will definitely sign up.”

SGA tries to be proactive when it comes to campus safety, Green said.

“We also listen for concerns with students,” she said. “When students come to us with concerns of campus safety, we definitely try our best to react to that.”

Gillilan said he encourages students to be careful on campus.

“I would just remind students to be alert and be aware even though the campus is a very safe community,” Gillilan said. “Travel in groups if possible and just be aware of your surroundings.”

Students can also find a list of safety procedures on UNA Police’s website, he said.

Gillilan said UNA offers 36 free classes a year on active shooter training or Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuation (A.L.I.C.E.) Training.

He said he encourages faculty and students to go through the preparation.

“I feel like these classes are very beneficial to the campus community,” Gillilan said.

“We strongly recommend that students go through that so that if a situation arises they know what to do.”

Students can find more information on una.edu/police.