Remembering 9-11: A Secure Campus

by Jim Holland

I remember where I was when the news of the first tower came through. I was getting ready for work, half watching and half listening to news coverage. It was reported as a possible air accident, but when I then saw the second plane come into view, I knew it was no accident.

As the day unfolded and more information came to light, my attention quickly changed to the safety of Azusa Pacific University. I concentrated on what actions and steps the Department of Campus Safety could take to reassure the APU community of their safety. We train and prepare for crisis situations, therefore immediate measures were taken, including increasing the visibility of officers’ presence in an effort to assure the university community that we were aware of the crisis and hopefully calm a few nerves. All staff officers worked 12-hour shifts for the next five days. Additional officers were also added to large events scheduled during the days following 9-11.

Beginning soon after the attacks, Campus Safety worked closely with the city of Azusa and their Emergency Operations Services, keeping apprised of any and all precautionary alerts given out by federal government agencies. Information was then communicated to the APU administration.

Today, as we prepare for the new academic year, we are giving special attention and keener observations to events, vehicles, suspicious people and activity, and anything of a suspicious nature. Officers were given additional instruction and training in being watchful. They maintain a very high and visible presence and will watch for any unusual activity on or around any of the university community.

The Department of Campus Safety continues to work closely with the city of Azusa and their services to insure a cohesive line of communication. This affords accurate information from reliable resources that can be communicated to the APU community in the case of emergency. Campus Safety believes that reporting information increases community awareness. This proactive posture is meant to promote and reinforce community involvement in order to protect facilities, but most importantly, the people who visit, reside, study, or work at Azusa Pacific University.

My prayer is that we will not be faced with additional unrest. However, if it does occur, be assured that Department of Campus Safety is prepared. This department will maintain its ability to respond and deal with any situations that may arise.