Should the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus become a target of violence, a brand-new, state-of-the-art security system could save lives. Featuring panic buttons, frosted windows and blue-strobe lights, the new system will help secure safety – as long as everyone prepares for an emergency.
That’s the message of the University Police and supporting administrators as they roll out the new system that was authorized and funded by Senior Vice Chancellor Terri Carrothers and Chancellor Don Elliman last spring.
Designed by Robin Brown, CU Anschutz director of electronic security, along with his deputy director, Kurt Proffitt, and other experts, the unique system’s first phase involved equipping 11 labs and 42 classrooms and lecture halls, in Education 1 and Education 2 buildings.
Each equipped room has at least one panic button installed on the wall; if a teaching podium is present, a second button was installed at the podium. Each button is accompanied with guidance information posted on the wall. Pressing a panic button locks every security door in the corresponding building, although people inside can still get out.
“We wanted to give our campus members the option to evaluate their surroundings and make the best decision,” said University Police Chief Randy Repola. “Sometimes, that is to stay. Other times, that might be to leave.”
Only police officers with credentials will have badge access to the locked doors. Once a panic button activates the system, University Police will be notified. A blue-strobe light will activate inside all of the equipped rooms, as well as outside of the room where the button was pushed.
“We want to stress that this is to be used during an imminent threat, such as an active-harmer situation,” Repola said. “This button is not for typical police assistance. If anyone requires police assistance without an imminent threat, he or she should contact University Police by phone.”
[perfectpullquote align="left" bordertop="false" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]'We want our students to know that they can focus on their studies because we’ve got their backs.' – Robin Brown, CU Anschutz director of electronic security[/perfectpullquote]
Equipped rooms also contain emergency trauma kits with severe-bleeding control supplies. An alarm sounds when the box is opened, notifying University Police.
Lastly, glass windows on doors have been reinforced and frosted, blocking the view from an outside active harmer and making the windows more difficult to break.
Make the call
Although the new security measures are a step toward a more-secure campus, a phone call during an emergency remains vital, Brown said.
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If you have any questions about the security system, please contact Wendy Grover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The phone call is the most important part of this scenario,” he said. “It gives our officers the opportunity to learn about the threat. Complete communication is always better than just opening a box or pressing a button."
Calls – and multiple calls – can give officers a more complete picture of the scenario and the amount of resources needed, Brown said.
There is also an important distinction between calling 911 and calling the University Police, said Wendy Grover, the police department's communications director.
“Only Dial 911 if you are using a phone connected to a wall,” Grover said. “You should dial 303-724-4444 if you are using a cellphone. That way we can ensure that you will get in touch with University Police. If you dial 911 on your cellphone, you may get put through with the Aurora Police Department or another law enforcement agency which could slow down the appropriate response.”
Brown said, “We want our students to know that they can focus on their studies because we’ve got their backs.”
University Police encourages people to spread the word about the new system.
“The security has hardened our buildings, and the officers have been trained,” Repola said. “Now, we need to educate our university population.”