In light of recent school shootings, university preps against similar incidents

The school has been making an effort to keep its emergency response updated after recent school shootings raise concern about Biola’s safety.


Campus safety chief John Ojeisekhoba speaks to Dr. Corey during the November 29, 2011 training the new bike patrol team. They will begin patrolling campus in January. | Courtesy of Biola Campus Safety

Katie Nelson, Writer

Campus safety chief John Ojeisekhoba speaks to Dr. Corey during the November 29, 2011 training the new bike patrol team. They will begin patrolling campus in January. | Courtesy of Biola Campus Safety [file photo]

Incidents like yesterday’s lockdown at California State University Fullerton due to an armed robber on campus and a school shooting by a student at Casper College in Casper, Wyo. have caused Campus Safety to investigate the likelihood of a similar incident occurring at Biola and the appropriate course of action to take if it did.

Biola’s status as a faith-based institution and its location in a historically safe city may cause it to seem protected from an incident like a school shooting, but Campus Safety chief John Ojeisekhoba warned that students and staff should not assume it could never happen.

“Unfortunately, we expect active shooter incidents to continue to occur [in colleges],” he said. “And we’re not saying it’s going to happen here, but we’re not immune … We recognize that.”

The university has been making efforts to keep its technology and emergency plans updated in case of an attack, according to the chief. Campus Safety rolled out new T3s at the beginning of this semester to ensure easier transportation in preparation for an emergency, and Ojeisekhoba is working with Student Development on installing an emergency notification system in the Caf, lobbies and other common areas.

Notification system helps communicate with students in emergency

“We also intend to partner with [Student Development] on the LCDs in the Caf and in the dorms,” he said. “And one of the areas we’re going to be targeting … is posting messages on the signage out front [of the main gate].”

Campus Safety public information officer Justin Shelby said the notification system is one way Campus Safety is working to better communicate with students in an emergency.

“We’re always trying to improve and find better ways to do things, but I feel we are well prepared for an active shooter and will let students know everything that is required during an emergency notification,” he said.

Campus Safety already uses a notification system that contacts students by texting, phone call and email to let them know if they are in danger. Resident directors are also trained each year on how to properly lock down their respective dorms in the event of an attack and how to care for students should disaster strike.

“We put our guys through the highest level of stress.”

Campus Safety has been conducting training to ready officers for a potential active shooter threat. The most recent training session was July 15 and the next is planned for Jan. 16, while most students are gone during interterm.

“During the training process … we put our guys through the highest level of stress,” Ojeisekhoba said. “We have actors, people who act as victims. We also have bad guys. … We have four guys shooting back, not real bullets but blank rounds. … We do that all day and in the end, the focus was tactics and how to properly handle the situation.”

Eight of the Campus Safety officers are licensed to be armed while on duty, according to the chief. Because most school shootings occur between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Ojeisekhoba said, Campus Safety places armed officers more strategically around campus during this time frame.

Keeping vigilant decreases possibility of attack

Despite the implementation and improving of defense tactics, Ojeisekhoba said, it is not always possible to stop a school shooting from occurring. However, he believes that keeping vigilant and knowing how to react decreases the possibility and devastation of a school shooting.

“I’m not saying having all the items put in place will stop an active shooter, but at least we have the opportunity to respond and hopefully stop the person if an incident should occur,” he said. 

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