Campus Police Seminar

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Top cops and police administrators from campuses across the southeast gathered at UT Wednesday.

It was planned well before the tragedy at Virginia Tech, but as Stephen McLamb reports, it gave them a good chance to discuss on-campus security together.

Of the chiefs WVLT spoke with, they feel good about their campus security, saying it was the incident at Columbine High School that changed their way of thinking.

But what they are addressing, is how best to let students know when there is a danger on campus.

The chiefs' seminar was held Wednesday afternoon at the UT Police Department.

Vanderbilt Chief Marlon Lynch says incidents like Virginia Tech always make them reassess the way they are doing things.

It's when students need to know there is a danger on campus that presents a special challenge.

One chief says they have to think like students for ideas on how to best get the word out.

"The students today, they sit in class and text message. You know, everybody's text messaging. You don't have to respond. You get the message instantaneously. You don't have to have your device off. It makes no noise so it doesn't interfere with a lot of things," Augusta State University Police Chief Jasper Cooke.

Cooke says they're also looking at being able to put up instant messages on the computers of faculty, staff, and students as part of their notification plan.

Cooke says the notification would apply to more than just instances like shootings. He says it would also help when there is severe weather like tornado warnings.

But it won't happen overnight. Cooke says they must evaluate software and other costs versus the number of people they hope to reach before determining if it's cost effective.

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