By ANDREW TERRY
In 2022 there have been 232 mass shootings in the United States as of June 1, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In Schools across the country, officials are examining the precautions in place to protect students and staff. The Amarillo College Police department urges anyone on campus to report suspicious activity as quickly as possible.
“I want the AC family to know that you’re partners with us, we’re in this together and we need their help,” Scott Acker, Chief of the Amarillo College Police department, said. “We can’t be everywhere at all times so if you see something you need to call us.”
According to ACPD, officers are focused on proactively preventing crime. “Officers are constantly walking buildings, checking parking lots and common areas, just out there looking for suspicious activity,” Acker said.
Texas has a Campus Carry law that allows licensed students and staff to carry concealed firearms on campus except for a few prohibited areas like campus child care centers and the Amarillo Museum of Art, the policy does not apply to rifles or unsecured handguns. “If you see somebody walking around with a rifle or a handgun out on campus I need people to call us and let us know about them,” Acker said.
ACPD also offers active shooter training to faculty staff and students. They are hosting sessions July 18, 19, 20 and 22 in the Oak Room of the College Union Building. “I’m going to approach the AC president’s cabinet about making active shooter training mandatory for everybody,” Acker said. Additionally, ACPD offers department-specific active shooter training to AC staff.
Some AC staff are putting their own precautions in place. “At FM90 we are upgrading older locks and doors to ensure students are safe while they’re on-air and using production rooms,” Amy Presley, FM90 program director said. “We’re also adding locks to some pre-existing doors to limit access to anyone who isn’t required in those areas.”
While officials are focused on protecting students from physical harm, students’ mental health is also a focus. “I would encourage individuals that have difficulty managing reactions to tragedies to seek professional help,” Jerrod Hinders, AC counseling center director, said. “Students can access the Counseling Center by calling (806) 371-5900 to set up an appointment. Our therapists are here to support students with coping in the aftermath of a tragedy, using evidenced-based practices”
ACPD is located in Dutton Hall and can be reached by calling 806-371-5163 for non-emergencies and 806-371-5911 for emergencies.