Illinois To Enhance Campus Safety at Colleges :

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has announced three initiatives to enhance safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors at Illinois institutions of higher education. The governor’s initiatives, which build upon his K-12 school security initiatives instituted in 2005, include creation of a task force charged with developing training to help colleges prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies; over $300,000 in grants to improve interoperable communications capabilities on campuses; and the addition of college officials and campus security representatives to the multi-agency Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF), which develops and implements the state’s homeland security strategy.

“We have a responsibility to do everything possible to ensure the safety of all students, from elementary and secondary schools to colleges and universities,” says Blagojevich. “As the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech last week showed us, tragedy can strike any time, any place, anywhere. Two years ago, we initiated an ambitious effort to ensure elementary and secondary schools are prepared to handle all types of emergencies. This training program has been widely acclaimed and, to date, nearly 900 public and private schools have participated in it. I believe this program provides a solid foundation for the college security training program that I am directing the new Illinois Campus Security Task Force to develop.”

The governor’s campus safety initiative has three components:

  • Creation of an Illinois Campus Security Task Force with members representing community colleges, public and private colleges and universities, proprietary institutions, the ITTF, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Illinois State Police (ISP), the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), and the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
  • Immediately provides $330,000 from the ITTF to the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to purchase portable Starcom 21 radios, which will provide colleges with interoperable communications capabilities with other responders during emergencies. The ITTF already has distributed more than 1,800 Starcom radios to public safety agencies throughout the state, including law enforcement, fire, emergency management and public health departments.
  • Appoints the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to the ITTF. The participation of these groups in the ITTF will also allow other public safety bodies to gain additional insight into the security issues and incidence response requirements unique to college campuses. The ITTF currently has more than 70 member organizations representing state and local agencies, public safety organizations, municipalities with populations over 100,000 and the business community.

If you want to read more about this story, click here, or if you would like to learn more about campus safety in general, visit the Campus Safety Magazine's webite, by clicking here.

- The Hackett Security Team

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