On Wednesday, November 29, the college held a Campus Safety Forum with representatives from the Cypress Police Department and Cypress College Campus Safety to inform the campus community and answer questions about an active shooter scenario, crime, and other safety-related concerns on and near campus. Cypress Police Department Chief Rod Cox and his team detailed the necessary steps they take for a swift, comprehensive response to incidents. Campus Safety and Maintenance and Operations officials discussed the campus’ response and lockdown capabilities should an incident occur on campus.
We present this FAQ with some tips and other information garnered from the forum to help the community prepare in the event of an incident on campus.
1. I know the basic premise of run, hide, fight, but what do you do if you know there’s an active shooter on campus, but don’t know where that person is? If you run, you might run into the shooter.
There isn’t an answer to that question. In this world, we like to have concrete answers, but these events are so fluid that you can’t address that with any real certainty. You can only do what you think is best for you at the time. At least do something. The only wrong thing you could do that day is nothing.
Also. take deep breaths so panic doesn’t set in, and prepare your mind to think about what you should do. Know that your mental preparation starts now. Start planning what your response would be in different scenarios, and be aware of your surroundings.
2. What’s an example of something you might have in an office that you can use as a weapon?
Stapler, pen, your car keys, chair, computer, laptop. If you have the ability to distract or momentarily incapacitate a suspect, that may give you an opportunity to escape. Don’t limit yourself to what we might traditionally think of as a weapon.
3. Since the active shooters have become more prevalent, we’ve had some conversation about an armed response here on campus. Could you please talk a little bit about pro/con about that and what you see; is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I can’t stand up here and tell you what’s right and wrong. What’s right for your campus might not be right for another campus. This is where you work and where you live; our opinion really makes no difference. We’re coming and we’re coming fully prepared and you understand what our job is when we get here. What you’re safe and comfortable with here, only you all can make those decisions through the district and your in-house administration.
This campus is extremely blessed. The police department is so close. You essentially have an armed response in your backyard.
The other thing you have to think about with guns—we think about it all the time—every contact that we have, every confrontation that we have is an armed confrontation for us because I bring a gun. I have to worry about my gun getting into somebody else’s hands. If you bring that onto campus—not that it’s a good or bad thing—you have to be prepared for all the things that go along with it. And those are the big decisions that have to be made when you talk about armed or not armed.
4. If someone were to call 911 on campus, how does that work with getting in touch with Campus Safety, even if there’s an active shooter on campus? How is information about a major incident communicated on campus?
At the college, there are campus-wide speakers that can be utilized, phone alert systems and phone trees, a text system for emergency messages to be communicated to anyone with a cellphone signed up in myGateway, and marquee access to let people off campus know there’s something happening and to stay away.
Don’t call 911 unless you have actual information to share. With major incidents, many will be calling in and tying up the phone lines. It’s best to not call if you don’t have specific information to share.
5. I want to ask about prevention. Most people know “if you see something, say something,” but what does that really mean? What should people be reporting and what shouldn’t they be reporting? And if they see something, who do they tell?
Master normal so abnormal sticks out. If people take the time to sit and watch human behavior on campus, the abnormal will stick out like a sore thumb if you’re paying attention. That abnormal thing, however slight, that you think is odd, should be reported. It’s better to call and let the authorities make a determination than to ignore something you think might be unusual.
If there’s a crime being committed, call 911. If it’s somebody acting suspiciously and you don’t know what to do, call Campus Safety and they will make contact with the individual.
6. Managers and some offices have radios on campus. What’s the protocol for radio use during a major incident?
Stay off the radio unless you have something urgent and very important to communicate and need to do so quickly. Just use it to listen. You’ll be able to get a lot more information from it than you will be able to give to Campus Safety.
7. Can you provide some tips about how we can provide helpful identifying information about a suspect?
Top to bottom, outside in. Give height, weight, skin tone, and facial hair, if any. Start at the top, then work your way down.
Request from Maintenance and Operations: If your hardware for doors is malfunctioning, etc. please let Physical Plant know so fixes can be scheduled and completed. We must ensure every part of the campus can be properly secured in the event of an emergency.