North Texas Daily

Campus police take measures to prevent school shooting

Campus police take measures to prevent school shooting

January 16
23:46 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

Since the Dec. 14, 2012,  shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people were fatally shot, the U.S. has witnessed a dramatic crossfire of arguments over actions to prevent similar disasters from occurring again.

Schools around the nation, including UNT, are taking precautionary measures to ensure maximum safety for their students and faculty.

Cpl. John DeLong of the UNT Police Department said firearms are banned on university grounds.

“We follow the Texas Penal Code and the university policy when it comes to firearm laws and regulations,” he said. “No one can have a firearm on their person on the university property, except a peace officer.”

The UNT Police Department has installed various safety measures to provide people on campus with resources to report criminal activity.

“If a UNT community member finds themselves in [a shooting] situation, they can call the police with their cell phones, use one of the 79 emergency phones on campus, or even yell for someone to go get help,” DeLong said.

Assistant housing director James Fairchild said residence halls do not allow firearms in accordance with university policy. He said housing staff members are trained to take precautions by the UNT Police to prevent a breach of these guidelines.

“Firearms are banned outright in all housing at UNT,” Fairchild said. “We run a monthly safety check, a visual inspection of the rooms to make sure everything is in order. If a firearm is found in any of the halls, the UNT police will be called in to deal with the situation.”

Security measures are taken at residence halls to ensure safety for the thousands of students who occupy those buildings. UNT police are prepared to intervene in potentially dangerous scenarios involving firearms, Fairchild said.

“Housing follows protocol set by risk management and the UNT police for gun-related situations,” Fairchild said. “Our staff have completed training exercises under the guidance of the UNT police in the past to ensure preparedness in the event of a shooting.”

Economics senior Craig Williams said students should cooperate with law enforcement to ensure safety on campus in shooting situations.

“As soon as a bystander takes out a gun, there’s a chance that the remaining people may not know who is the shooter and who is the hero,” Williams said. “One hero can mistake another for the shooter. I do trust the police to be better trained on avoiding escalation of that kind.”

DeLong said the police strongly encourage students to report suspicious activity spotted on campus. The department provides reporting instructions and guidelines on its website.

“The UNT Police Department patrols the university 24/7, 365 [days a year],” DeLong said. “While officers perform their patrol duties by vehicle, bike and walking, they continuously watch for suspicious circumstances and activities that need to be acted upon.”

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3 Comments

  1. T.J. Adamowicz
    T.J. Adamowicz January 17, 09:19

    Point of clarification:

    As of September 1, 2011, SB 321 became effective.

    It states: “A public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition the employee is authorized by law to possess in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.”

    While this doesn’t authorize CHL holders to carry their firearms on campus, your statement that “firearms are banned on university grounds.” isn’t completely accurate.

    CPL DeLong elaborated accurately that (emphasis mine): “No one can have a firearm ON THEIR PERSON on the university property, except a peace officer.”

    Any one legally able to own a firearm may keep them secured in their personal vehicle on university grounds.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Samra Bufkins
    Samra Bufkins January 27, 08:50

    Try using a cell phone in the basement of the GAB, Curry Hall or almost anywhere in the new Business Leadership Building.

    Reply to this comment
  3. kane
    kane January 27, 09:14

    inhibiting my right to protect my life and my liberty is not constitutional in Texes persons over 21 after taking classes being tested and passing a rigorous background check can receive their concealed carry permits from the state of Texas. in fact on average every Texan will run into one CCW holder and not know it. i believe students should follow Utah and Colorados lead and allow students to carry concealed guns with license that requires training and tests. there has been no gun related crimes occurring on those campuses at all. Also states that allow CCW or open carry of guns have less crime that those do not.

    and the whole gun free zone is a joke anyone can bring a gun on campus and kill as many people as they can before the police are able to mobilze and kill the shooter those precious seconds can be the difference between life and death.

    Reply to this comment

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