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Pierce College Campus Safety has active shooter plan

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It has been a month since 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz opened fire at a Florida high school, killing one teacher and 16 students, and students are still nervous.

Pierce College is an open campus, where anyone is free to roam the grounds. Recent events prompt student and faculty on what to do when faced with a campus shooting.

Pierce College does have a no concealed weapons policy in place for all of its campuses in the college district (Puyallup, Fort Steilacoom and Joint Base-Lewis McChord) and Campus Safety strictly enforces this policy. “The policy applies even to those who have a concealed carry permit,” said Sgt. Robert Rockey, one of campus safety officers on the Fort Steilacoom campus.

Campus Safety Marina Chetverikov/Staff Photo

According to the Pierce College student code of conduct, possession, holding, wearing, transporting, storage or presence of any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, explosive device, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm is prohibited on the college campus. One of the exceptions is if a student with a valid concealed weapons permit may store a pistol in the student’s vehicle parked on campus, provided the vehicle is locked and the weapon is concealed from view. The complete policy is available at tinyurl.com/pcconduct.

“It does not matter if you have concealed weapons permit or not,” said Rockey, about bringing weapons into the buildings. “All students should be aware and comply to the student code of conduct in place on campus.”

Jose Nieves, interim director for campus safety, said, “There’s really no telling what causes a shooting, it really varies on motive and variety of other reasons.”

He said, “There is no telling when and if a shooting will take place, it’s best to be prepared for anything.”

Rockey said, ” It also depends on the mental status of the one doing the shooting, what’s going on in their mind at the time and the situation and reasoning for taking such an action.”

Campus Safety urge people to report any suspicious activity or actions to the Behavioral Introversion and Threat Assessment team using the online form on the campus safety website at tinyurl.com/pcsafetyform  If the issue is urgent,  campus safety can be contacted directly at (253) 964-6751or 911 can be called. It is important that if you see something, say something, said Rockey.

“It is important that everyone is aware of their surroundings and what is going on, emergencies can happen at any time to anyone, it is always best to be prepared,” Nieves said.

Campus Safety recommends staff and students review the information and be familiar with the campus safety website as  it can help save a life.

Nieves said he is continually doing safety and emergency trainings with outside groups to bring more awareness of the seriousness of such situations.

“If you’re trained properly you will act. If you are not, you will panic,” Nieves said. He is willing to meet with any groups or clubs on campus to do trainings if there is a need and interest.

If anyone is interested in emergency preparedness trainings, they can contact Nieves at (253) 6632 or email him at JNieves@pierce.ctc.edu.

What to do:

Should such a event ever happen on campus, interim director for campus safety Jose Nieves recommends students follow these procedures:

Run: If it is safe to do so, run out and away from the building to a safe location, leave all belongings behind and take people with you if necessary. If they don’t go, don’t wait for them.

Hide: If running is not safe, find a place with thick walls and no widows and hide. Turn off cellphones and stay as quiet as possible until it is safe to leave.

Fight: Last resort only. Use physical force and items around you (chairs, fire extinguishers, etc.) to disarm and incapacitate the shooter.

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