Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yellow Zone

By: Jennifer Harris

July 2, 2015: Thursday. That morning the sky was clear, the weather was perfect and the sun was in its summer robes. The last few nights, firecrackers were exploding all over the land in anticipation of Independence Day. Loud bangs, bright colors and a flash, preceded children’s squeals, the smell of gunpowder and adults shouting gleefully, “Yeah look, look!”

 As I drove to Main Campus that day the echo of the bangs and the smell of the rancid gunpowder started me thinking; is Trident Technical College prepared for a terrorist attack? I am not into fear, I am into knowledge because knowledge is key to survival. And also because, Trident Times keeps up with the times to bring you up to date info.

I knew exactly where I should start.

Public Safety: Building 100: Office of Lieutenant Locklair.

Lieutenant Locklair, second in Command of Public Safety, waved me into his office.  He shook my hand and offered me a chair. I thanked him for seeing me and got straight to the point.

JH: “Lieutenant, what measures are in place for a terrorist attack on our campus?”

LtLo: “I’m very happy to help raise awareness. Generally, these are lone individuals, maybe a small group, and they have issues that they want to play out in public for whatever reasons. We call this a domestic threat of terrorism. On all TTC campuses we have 24 hour security in place.”(he paused to look at me) then said, “Do you know that Dylan Roof , the one responsible for the attack in Charleston, was heading to CofC but changed his mind when he saw the presence of Public Safety officials?”

JH: “No, I did not know that!”

LtLo: “He was. I’ve been a part of policing for 19 years and here’s what I can share with you. Our police departments have linked up with all the campuses and other organizations. We’re training for increased vigilance and quick responses. Our eyes are open for any unusual activity, any unusual comments and any unusual object. We’ve strengthened communications with all the student activity departments.  But, we need students and /or anyone connected to the campus to be engaged in watchfulness. No police force can succeed without public support”.

JH: “Lieutenant, what should we do in the event of an attack?”

LtLo: “We’ve got some posters throughout the school so everyone knows the drill. Step (1): Run (do not panic. If you see the attacker, run away as far as you can). Step (2): Hide (find a room with no glass windows or glass walls and lock yourself in it or run off the campus). Step (3): Fight (for your life! No one says you should be a hero / heroine but if the attacker is close enough and is threatening your life, fight). Every public safety department provides an escort service for students and staff. When security is on campus we share the same goals as those attending. We want to make sure that you get the best education. You may have a ‘yellow zone’. (That’s when you need to leave somewhere but no one is around. You’re wondering is it safe to go but you don’t want to take a chance). If for any reason anyone feels threatened they should call us day or night”. Public Safety – 843-574-6052 / 6053

We spoke for quite a bit. Before I left, he shared the experience of when they had to remove a student from campus because he brought a firearm to class! Public Safety only found out after a concerned classmate spoke up. A great example of NYC’s “See Something Say Something” policy.


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