Campus lockdown effective, leaves room for improvement

Butler Univeristy Police Department and other campus groups will review the recent lockdown on campus.

So far, assessment of the situation has been positive.

“I think, all in all, it went well, but there’s room for improvement,” Assistant Police Chief Andy Ryan said.

Ryan said he recieved positive feedback from students and parents about how the lockdown was handled, especially regarding BUPD’s communication with the campus.

Campus was locked down Sunday, Nov. 4, after a robbery at a nearby CVS turned into a police chase on the campus.

Ben Hunter, executive director of public safety, said a debriefing is being planned with representatives from groups all over campus to review how the lockdown process went from all ends.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Yeah it went fine from our perspective,’” he said. “That doesn’t mean it went well from other folks’ perspectives.”

Overall, Hunter said he thought the lockdown went well.

“From my standpoint, when no one gets hurt and we’re able to send a message out and we’re able to protect the campus, life and property, it’s a good day,” Hunter said.

Hunter said this doesn’t mean the campus won’t be looking at external and internal processes and how they can improve.

Ryan said deciding when the university should go into lockdown is done on a case-by-case basis.

The dispatcher made the decision in this case, he said. There’s a button in the dispatch center, and, once pressed, the card readers all over campus go into lockdown mode.

The campus was not in a total lockdown at first, Ryan said. BUPD officers had to manually lock some doors that do not have card-reader access at  Gallahue Hall, Robertson Hall, Fairbanks Center and Jordan Hall.

“We could really use some more funding for more card readers,” Ryan said.

Once a lockdown is called, BUPD handles the situation at hand. In this case, officers helped the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department catch one robber.

When the robber was secured, BUPD officers went through each building on campus to search for his accomplice.

During the lockdown, students are expected to listen to BUPD’s communication and stay off campus, but that is not what Assistant Police Chief Bill Weber found.

“When I was out walking, I still saw students out and about,” Weber said. “Just because we lock down a building, we cannot force you to stay in.”

Weber said students might not have listened to BUPD’s warnings because they did not get the message or because students did not feel it applied to them.

Ryan said most students did cooperate, but he said he thinks they might have not taken it seriously at first.

“People have to make informed decisions, and that’s why we’re trying to give them the information as quickly as we could,” he said. “I wish they would trust our judgment as the university police department to recognize the seriousness of the situation.”

Students walking around campus when they should be indoors could also cause confusion with the investigation and search for potential danger, Ryan said.

“IMPD had K-9s with them to help with the search,” Ryan said. “Dogs don’t care who they bite.”

During emergency situations, BUPD only has one dispatcher to field all calls.

Weber said it’s important for students to subscribe to DawgAlert for their email or phone because that is the best way to find out what to do in an emergency situation.

Each department on campus is supposed to have an emergency response plan, Ryan said.

This case was Butler’s first lockdown. Ryan said the only other time the campus has come close to being on lockdown is when Officer James Davis was shot in 2004.

The planned debriefing will take place after Thanksgiving Break.


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