Campus police chief ensures student safety

Ken Kennedy

Ken Kennedy

With recent shootings in areas around the country, Missouri Southern students’ interest for campus safety has sparked immensely.

Ken Kennedy, Chief of Campus Police says that Missouri Southern has several strategies to ensure students’ safety in case of an active shooter on campus.

“We have a lot of really good resources here that we provide on campus for students to ensure that they are prepared,” Kennedy said. “Plans for safety have improved a lot since I got here 11 years ago.”

In 2010, Missouri Southern received a grant for emergency management in higher education.

The grant was given an extension and Southern is still working with company Risk Solutions to create effective plans.

“Each building used to have different, specific plans,” Kennedy said.

“We’ve now centralized these plans among the entire campus.”

Officers on campus are trained in National Incident Management Solutions (NIMS) and know how to respond and work together for procedure and protocol in case there is ever to be an instance requiring the training.

“I feel pretty confident about the methods we’ve used on this campus,” Kennedy said.

“Everything is very up to date.”

Not only does campus have safety protocol and procedures within it’s security, but it has  gone to lengths to ensure students know what to do in case of an emergency.

Homeland Security came out with guidelines recently for procedure if there is an active shooter in someone’s midst.

The procedure states to run, hide, fight.

“This means, run if you can, hide if you can. But if you cant, SWARM,” Kennedy said.

SWARM is a method Kennedy uses when he teaches students in UE classes how to stay safe in an active shooter situation.

SWARM means to distract and gain control of the shooter in a group.

This could include throwing a tennis ball, cell phone or a shoe as a distraction to be able to gain control.

According to Kennedy, hundred of students have been taught over the course of the last three years.

Kennedy also teaches a class called RAD. It teaches women how to avoid violent situations.

“We aren’t teaching students to fight,” Kennedy said.

“We are teaching them how to survive. Almost anything is better than laying there or being a target in that situation.”

For more information on campus safety, visit www.mssu.