Local Campuses Examine Security Measures - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Campuses Examine Security Measures

The mid-state chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association said more than 20 students from this area attend Virginia Tech.

They each appeared to be okay after the incident, but local educational institutions still examined their own campus security.

"I think that incident does help reinforce our mindset," MTSU Campus Police Chief Buddy Peaster said. "It is kind of shocking to think that stuff like that could happen. It's very difficult to predict with precise accuracy when something like that's going to happen."

Peaster said the same incident that happened at Virginia Tech could happen anywhere.

"It's an open campus where people can come and go, and need to come and go," he said.

For that very reason, campus police officers try to be prepared for anything and everything. The department works hand in hand with local police and response teams to plan in case of a campus-wide problem.

Authorities at MTSU are working on a plan that would send text messages to members of the campus community in the case of an emergency.

"Almost everyone these days carries a cell phone, pager, or PDA...almost everyone, especially students," Peaster said.

 Vanderbilt University also plans constantly for student security.

"We have a number of emergency response boxes around the campus and communications. We do have drills and plans for disasters. This would qualify as a disaster," Mike Schoenfeld with Vanderbilt University said.

University administrators said student safety was of utmost importance both at MTSU and Vanderbilt. Campus police officers undergo training and students are allowed to have counseling if they are dealing with difficult situations that could possibly turn violent.

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One of the worst shootings on a Tennessee college campus was in 2003 on the campus of Dyersburg State Community College.

Harold Kilpatrick, Jr., 26, held a dozen students and a teacher hostage for nine hours inside the school.

Kilpatrick shot and injured two of the hostages.

A SWAT team ended the standoff by shooting and killing Kilpatrick.

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