Local colleges fine tune safety in light of mass shooting

Local colleges fine tune safety in light of mass shooting

University of Wisconsin and Madison College said they will study what happened in Roseburg and try to learn from it. But they agree Thursday’s shooting shows how tragedy happens no matter how prepared a school is.

There have been 45 school shootings in the U.S. so far this year, and both colleges said they are doing everything to make sure their schools don’t fall victim to an active shooter.

It’s a situation no one wants, but Madison College student Kayla Hyneck fears it will happen more and more.

“I feel like anywhere I go, I have worries that someone might do something,” she said.

Hyneck said Thursday’s shooting reminds her just how quickly a seemingly safe place like a community college can turn dangerous.

“It makes me nervous to come to places like this,” Hyneck said.

Mark Thomas, who deals with security at Madison College, said preparing for an active shooter situation is at the top of the school’s list.

“In terms of security, in terms of planning, in terms of coordination,” Thomas said.

To keep both staff and students in the loop, Madison College holds routine drills.

Some of those people are made aware ahead of time and sometimes they’re surprised.

As a community college, the school does not have its own police department and relies heavily on the help and input from Madison Police.

“We’ve really worked hard to build those relationships,” Thomas said.

University of Wisconsin has the advantage of having its own force. Chief Sue Riseling has her team run smaller active-shooter drills four times a year and bigger simulations every few years.

“We’ve practiced at the Khol Center, this last time we practiced at Camp Randall, we keep trying to move the venue around because we’re never quite sure what venue it’s going to be when and if God forbid the days actually come,” she said.

Both Madison College and UW have over 40,000 students. Officials said reaching those students in an emergency situation is one of the keys to keeping people safe. Both schools have an alert system to reach them via email or text to let students know exactly what to do if an active shooter situation happens.