In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, the University has reviewed its emergency response procedures, reached out to local and county law enforcement agencies, and arranged for additional “active-shooter response” training, public safety director Steven J. Healy said.
On May 11 the University held the first campuswide test of its new emergency notification system, purchased in April before the killings at Virginia Tech. Nearly 11,700 of the 12,000 students, faculty, and staff registered personal contact information with the University, and 87 percent received a test message by phone within an hour.
Most calls were received within 20 minutes, the University said.
In communicating with the Univer-sity community in case of emergency, “We have every tool Princeton really needs,” said Mark Burstein, executive vice president. These include use of Web announcements, an automated message line, a new Tiger TV emergency alert system, local radio stations, door-to-door notifications, and posters.
Burstein said Princeton’s emergency-preparedness task force meets regularly and has designated an emergency operations center and a crisis team. Detailed plans have been prepared to respond to public-safety incidents, health and environmental emergencies, power outages, and weather-related disruptions, he said.
Healy said that since the University’s 50 public safety officers are unarmed, their role in case of a violent incident would be to get to the scene quickly, assess the situation, call for backup from borough and township police, and set up a security perimeter.
Burstein said that the University has had “an ongoing conversation for a number of years” about whether public-safety officers should carry weapons. But on a campus where the major crime is theft of unattended property, he said, armed officers are not necessary and would “change the culture of the institution very significantly.”