It’s part of a larger effort to make DMACC locations safer and more secure.
DMACC’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved hiring both off-duty and retired police officers for DMACC sites beginning this fall. Specific locations will be determined over the next several months. It’s part of a larger mental health, safety and security recommendation released by the DMACC Emergency Procedures and Response Committee that’s been examining the issue over the past year.
Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa have fully armed security forces, and at least six Iowa community colleges and other cohort colleges across the Midwest have already successfully implemented at least some armed security presence without incident. DMACC anticipates a similar result. The College will also continue to retain a number of unarmed security, as it has done for several years.
“It’s ultimately the Board’s responsibility for the safety and security of all DMACC locations,” said Joe Pugel, Board Chair. “Hiring retired and off-duty police officers is a good first step to address this very important issue.”
Other Board approved recommendations include:
- Increased availability of mental health assessment and counseling services as well as enhanced training on diversity.
- Increased examination of lighting, walking areas, etc. and additional security opportunities.
- Resolution of non-weapon related issues to continue to be handled by unarmed security.
- All security on a DMACC site will continue to receive extensive training in de-escalation and other conflict management skills.
“Responding to recent shootings and other violent incidents across America, particularly in educational settings, DMACC’s administration has reviewed its current emergency and response plans, and as a result, made a number of recommendations,” said Rob Denson, DMACC President.
“Statistics show that our facilities are some of the safest of any college or university in the nation. But, we want to take steps now to further address any potential problems,” Denson added.
The DMACC Emergency Procedures and Response Committee includes:
- Dr. Stan Jensen, DMACC’s Executive Vice President (chair),
- Fred Greiner, DMACC Board Member
- Jay Tiefenthaler, Director of Safety/Security
- Representatives from faculty and student services on DMACC sites and campuses
Denson said student representatives and others will be added to the implementation review committee.
Discussions about campus safety and security issues have also included law enforcement, student groups and outside safety personnel. “We’ve invested a lot of time examining the issues and getting comments from our internal and external audiences,” said Jensen. “The DMACC Board has approved an enhanced Safety and Security Plan that will result in a better learning environment for our students, employees, visitors and result in an additional margin of safety should an event occur. When seconds count, DMACC wants to be ready to respond.
Jensen restated that Iowa’s public universities as well as a number of other community colleges across the state already have armed officers.
Currently, DMACC has 26 unarmed security personal from Securitas Security Services USA. Local police also actively patrol all DMACC locations across Central Iowa.