MSU shooting a reminder to Michiana colleges to be prepared

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 7:26 PM EST
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Another mass shooting on a college campus is increasing the awareness at a Michiana college about the need to be prepared for such emergencies.

“[It] doesn’t change our plans [of response]. Obviously heightens awareness amongst the community about the need to be prepared for those sort of things,” remarked James Bambenek, Director of Campus Safety at Saint Mary’s College.

Bambenek said Saint Mary’s relies on St. Joseph County Police to provide service during emergencies as campus security is not a sworn law enforcement agency.

“Law enforcement cooperates on plans for this because I mean, they are large-scale operations. They’re multi-department operations. They train to provide those services. They use an emergency Incident Command function that allows them to identify who’s in charge and the situation and, and what the roles each individual officer responding are going to fill. And it’s that cooperative training that prepares them for responding to situations on college campuses, at businesses, and you know, throughout the community,” Bambenek said.

If an emergency arises, Saint Mary’s immediately informs the campus through text, e-mail, and recorded messages. Open spaces, such as the student center, are monitored.

“We monitor community spaces...or public spaces...using cameras, using directed patrols of our officers. And we rely heavily on our community to provide information,” he added.

Bambenek emphasized the need for the community to call in tips if something just seems “weird.”

“I mean, in any of these incidents, there’s somebody that saw something that said, ‘Yeah, wow, that’s weird.’ And the faster you can get somebody there that’s capable of dealing with, ‘Yeah, that’s weird,’ the better it’s going to be for everybody involved,” he said.