University police leaders speak about campus safety
FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - At a hearing on Thursday, police leaders from MSU, CMU, and U of M Flint told lawmakers what they’re doing to keep students safe after the MSU shooting last month.
“My son called my cell phone and said ‘I love you, mom. I’ve been shot. There’s a shooter,’” said the mother of an MSU student while testifying today before a State House committee about changing gun laws.
The police chief at U of M Flint said sometimes they have to make tough choices.
“The hearing helped identify the fact that campus safety, like safety in any community, is complex,” said Ray Hall, the University of Michigan Flint police chief.
Hall addressed a State House committee Thursday, nearly a month after the deadly shooting at Michigan State University, where three students died, and five others were critically injured.
Joined by officials from MSU and CMU, they discussed how best to keep campuses safe.
“The best of electronic security for example, door locking systems on classrooms, remote monitoring, capabilities, leveraging not only technology but key partnerships in the community and that, that in higher education, that means connecting with city hall and local police agencies,” Hall said.
Hall told members of the Higher Education and Community Colleges Committee that campuses need to find the right balance between safety and security without making the community feel like it’s locked out.
“We want to encourage our community to come on to the campus and enjoy the amenities of the campus either walking through our sidewalks or visiting the library, whatever that activity is,” Hall said. “This is the people’s campus and our community’s campus.”
Hall said safety upgrades often come with tough choices.
“We were always forced to make a decision, putting in cameras and a new blue phone versus enhancing and updating a lab for our students to study in,” Hall said.
He said lawmakers are looking into ways to make that decision a little easier.
“They’re looking to earmark funding that’s sustainable into the future that’s just used for enhancements of safety and security systems on campuses,” Hall said.
He said security assessments and improvements are an ongoing process to ensure students feel safe.
“We want them to have a healthy awareness of their surroundings, but we don’t want them to worry about their safety. We want them to worry about passing their next exam,” Hall said.
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