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Anoka Ramsey’s Plan for a Mass Shooting 

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Anoka Ramsey’s Plan for a Mass Shooting 


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In wake of Parkland, Florida shooting, students and staff press for expanded preparation 

Max Brown, editor 

Additional reporting by Ben Harvey and Sam Peterson, staff writers 

In response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Anoka Ramsey’s Public Safety office has taken new measures in recent weeks to prevent violence on campus. On Wednesday, February 21st, one week after the shooting, Public Safety Director Cliff Anderson sent the following email to all students and staff at Coon Rapids, Cambridge, and Anoka Tech: 

“Maintaining a safe learning environment for our students and employees is our top priority. In an effort to lessen anxieties and instill confidence, the Office of Public Safety for Anoka-Ramsey and Anoka Tech is teaming up with our community police departments who will conduct random enforcement patrols on all three campuses. You may see these police teams walking through various departments and work areas, and please feel free to extend a greeting and introduce yourself.  Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate our public safety and security measures on our campuses.” 

In an interview, Anderson described the new selective enforcement policy: 

“What selective enforcement entails, is we’ve asked (law enforcement) for a period of time to be assigned to our campus specific…and in doing that, that would include patrolling, walk-throughs, meeting and talking with different people. But we’re aware of it, we’ve asked them to come through for a period of time. Walk-throughs and patrols are random in scope, we’re not targeting, we’re not looking for anything in specific”. 

A staff member wishing to remain anonymous has expressed concern with what they feel to be a lack of preparation and training given to staff.  

“I haven’t gotten any formal training… but I did do a required online security training. They called it active shooter training, and it’s basically a video just telling you the steps you should take if something like that were to happen. If I remember them correctly, I think they were run, hide, fight. So, run away as fast as you can towards the exit, hide if you can’t run—lock yourself somewhere—and fight if you have to.” 

Currently, Anoka-Ramsey has online training for staff, as well as literature and other online materials for students to access. Anoka-Ramsey does not offer drills or other kind of live simulation, which is concerning to some students and staff.  

“I think it would be nice to have some kind of protocol. I think the fight, hide, run drill is very general, and I’m afraid that that could cause chaos and panic, so that’s why I’m not that comfortable” said the anonymous staff member. 

Public Safety is currently planning a lockdown drill at Anoka-Tech for April 14th, and is looking to expand into other preparation materials, such as police-view simulations of an active shooting.  

In response to criticisms that the “Run, Hide Fight” guidelines are too vague and the lack of drills, Public Safety staff Ed Wilberg said that many of Anoka-Ramsey’s safety materials come from national sources, and therefore are not created specifically for Anoka-Ramsey. He also claims that the “run, hide, fight” guidelines will vary based on where an individual is on campus during a shooting and where they are relative to the active shooter, which limits the effectiveness of drills. 

Wilberg also stressed that recognizing potential warning signs that an individual may be inclined toward violence and reporting the signs will ultimately be far more effective than attempting to stop or mitigate a violent outburst once it has started. 

“When we’re talking about prevention…we’re talking about preventing a situation where it’s a student who has become disconnected from the rest of the student body and lashes out, as some school related shootings are.” 

Wilberg specifically mentions the CARE program as a good resource for this situation. 

“It’d be helpful if not only faculty and staff, but especially students, become aware of the CARE program, and what their resources are, and what they can do to help if you, the student, happens to see another student, and something in their life is wrong, so the college can draw those resources necessary…to draw that person into the community of the college.” 

The Anoka-Ramsey website describes the CARE Team as a team that “works with students to find solutions to academic, social and personal situations that may impact the potential for student success”. 

Lisa Harris, head of the CARE Team, describes possible responses to a CARE report: 

“Sometimes it requires (the CARE Team) to meet as a group to further look into what we know about the individual being reported to us, to gather as much information as we can, to then figure what’s the best way to assist the student or whomever the individual may be that has been brought to our attention…we handle it a couple different ways depending on the information that we receive.” 

Even though the Public Safety department offers many resources and referrals, such as department presentations, publicly accessible security reports, and referrals to additional programs like CARE, many students and faculty seem to be unaware of these resources. Anderson stated that he is “not satisfied” with the level of communication between students and faculty and Public Safety. 

“I don’t think we’re ever going to be satisfied until we can talk to every student and every faculty member, whether that’s in a classroom, face-to-face, or in a message…I send out a monthly crime report, we also have a daily crime report on our blog site that’s open to the public (and) covers both campuses” 

Anderson said that a great amount of information on public safety exists and is communicated using multiple means, but that it is underutilized. He encourages students to become involved and find communication channels that will work. 

“If (students) don’t think public safety is doing enough, I really would love to talk with them and set up an appointment, so we can find better ways for students to feel better about that particular (concern). That’s one I take personally, and we’re gonna do better.” 

Anderson also stated that whatever Public Safety plans on in the future, it can only work as a coordinated effort between staff, students and faculty. 

“whether it’s student centered, faculty centered, staff centered, we can’t do our job alone. We need the entire campus community to be eyes and ears, to act as one as best we can, and then to instill confidence…we have a shared interest for security and safety.” 

 

 

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