Grieving nation copes with tragedy

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Grieving nation copes with tragedy

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<b>University reps. meet with BPD to discuss prevention</b>

By: Andrew FitzGerald
Posted: 4/18/07

The day after a Virginia Tech senior shot and killed 32 people on campus and himself, representatives from 19 Boston-area colleges who met at Boston Police Department headquarters said they must improve communication in the future to prevent similar campus attacks.

University administrators joined state and local police forces to discuss "protocol, procedure and planning" that goes into preventing campus attacks during a meeting requested by Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, said BPD spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll.

Representatives at the meeting said they wanted to ensure the BPD and campus security forces are able to communicate through radio, according to Driscoll, who cited the existing Boston Area Emergency Radio Network -- a link between local campus and police departments -- that received boosted support after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Virginia Tech and college campuses around the country have reacted to Monday&#39;s shootings, in which 32 people were killed by Virginia Tech senior Cho Seung-Hui. The 23-year-old English major from South Korea killed two people in a residence hall shortly after 7 a.m., and he killed 30 in a classroom building two hours later a half-mile across campus.

Local university administrators also compared methods they use to communicate with students in pressing situations, Driscoll said.

Virginia Tech officials have received widespread criticism for not immediately contacting university members after the first shooting. Officials first sent an email to the university about the residence hall shooting at 9:26 a.m., while the gunman was carrying out his second attack.

Driscoll said another topic discussed was the importance of "recognizing the tendency of someone who may act in violence." Classmates and professors have described the shooter as someone who was not very sociable, and some professors had referred him for counseling, according to The New York Times.

Representatives at yesterday&#39;s meeting will form subcommittees to develop campus-specific security plans, which will vary based on school size and relative security, Driscoll said.

"The distinction would be that some universities have patrol forces and some do not," she said. "If the security force is unarmed, then what are the steps they should take in an unarmed situation? If the force is armed, then the response should be different."

Attending university administrators said they could not provide details on the tools security personnel use to protect their campuses because the information could aid potential attackers.

Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, who attended the meeting, declined to elaborate on specifics, only repeating Driscoll&#39;s summary that they discussed "protocols, training amongst different agencies [and] how students can access information."

Harvard University spokesman Joe Wrinn said universities and law enforcement agencies meet regularly to share information. For example, university representatives and police held a similar meeting in October 2004 to plan for potential riots after World Series games, prompted by the accidental shooting death of an Emerson College student celebrating in the streets after the Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship Series.

"We occasionally get together with other campuses and campus police," Wrinn said. "We run tabletop exercises and drills."

Driscoll said the police forces and university representatives will meet again to further develop prevention techniques, but she did not provide a date.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/04/18/News/Grieving.Nation.Copes.With.Tragedy-2849523.shtml> The Daily Free Press - April 18, 2007</a>

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Andrew FitzGerald

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The Daily Free Press

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2007-08-14

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Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Andrew FitzGerald, "Grieving nation copes with tragedy," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1051, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1051 (accessed July 28, 2014).