DENVER | Colorado’s colleges all have plans for emergencies, including shootings. Community colleges work with the state system that oversees them, while universities have more autonomy over their individual plans. All work with law enforcement to develop these plans.
HOW THE PLANS ARE DEVELOPED
The Colorado Community College System, which oversees 13 campuses, hired ERCM Consulting in 2014 to advise each school about emergency plan improvements and to create a statewide template. Public colleges and universities develop plans “based on national best practices and with input from local law enforcement,” said Jessica Bralish, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The state does not have a single governing board overseeing colleges, so each institution develops its own plan, Bralish said.
Community colleges conduct annual drills, including drills for active shooter scenarios. Universities conduct drills at their own discretion, but Bralish said they are “frequent and diverse.”
Dana Nunn, spokeswoman for Colorado Mesa University, said the college performs “building-by-building drills on a periodic basis.” She said the university also regularly invites the Grand Junction Police SWAT team during breaks so they can be familiar with campus facilities.
WHO IS INFORMED ABOUT PLANS
Generally, students, faculty and staff are told what to do during campus emergencies. At Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, plans are available at its employee online portal. Each classroom as a “Standard Response Protocol” posted that addresses what to do during lockdowns, evacuations and other emergencies.
Some campuses have installed automatic door-locking systems and emergency call boxes. Colorado Mesa University has an electronic system that allows rooms to be locked remotely during emergencies. Colorado Mountain College hires security guards at some locations for late nights. Colleges also have systems aimed at identifying and helping students of concern.