By Runa Lemminn, Sonia Lemus, & Vincent Perez
The mass shooting in Las Vegas has students at CSU Bakersfield reconsidering attending venues with large crowds.
Cashmere Toney, a liberal studies freshman, said that it’s not worth going to large events.
“I’ve never been one to go to large events, but I still feel a bit upset at the large amounts of senseless violence in Las Vegas. I wouldn’t want to go,” said Toney.
Chief of University Police Marty Williamson said before events take place on campus, they work on a plan for the safety and security of the people attending the event.
“I would rather have someone say we are too strict than have tragedy occur on campus,” said Williamson.
Williamson explained that before it was even confirmed whether Milo Yiannopoulos was coming to CSUB, UPD was working on a security plan for the event.
Williamson said that making plans for the event security is very labor intensive and consists of a lot of different layers.
Last semester, CSUB had several sellout crowds for basketball. Security was enhanced to provide safety for the large crowds, said Williamson.
CSUB Director of Facilities and Operations, Matt Sanger said that the events in Las Vegas have not affected games at CSUB.
“We haven’t made any changes [to games]. It doesn’t matter how many people come to a game. Security is still important,” he said.
Sanger said that he sits through three hour meetings going over safety. Last week at the meetings with other CSUB departments, they discussed emergency events.
Currently, UPD is focused on providing security for the upcoming Dance Marathon.
For this event, they consider events like the Boston Marathon and what safety precautions can be taken so as to not have a repeat at CSUB.
“Do I expect anything to happen? No, but we will still have safety as a priority,” said Williamson.
There are precautions that people should take if they decide to attend a large event of any kind. Sergeant Ryan Kroeker, public information officer for the Bakersfield Police Department said that people need to have a game plan of what actions they are going to take if something happens.
Kroeker said it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to make note of where the exits are and how far away they are.
“Have a plan when you walk into a building in advance,” said Kroeker.
Williamson agreed with Kroeker’s statement. Students should familiarize themselves with the surroundings, listen to securities instructions, know the exits and where to take cover.
If a shooting starts, it is important to stay as calm as possible, and make note of as many details of the shooter and the scene as possible. Every accurate detail that the 911 dispatcher has is important for the responding officers to know.
“T-shirt, what kind of clothing the suspects are wearing, what nationality they are, ethnicity, if they have any types of weapons, where they are currently at in the building,” said Kroeker.
It’s important to understand that most people, when faced with a life threatening situation, don’t act rationally. Kroeker said it gets chaotic, and when the police first show up, it can be even more chaotic.
“Officers are going to be yelling. They are going to be telling them to move, knowing that they are going to get into a life threatening situation, especially the first responding officers,” said Kroeker.
The officers who respond first in an active shooter situation are running towards the shooting. The officers are putting their lives on the line to protect people they have never met.
“The officer’s safety is not paramount. At that point in time, pretty much officers are going in with the mindset that ‘there’s a high likelihood that I’m going to be shot,’” said Kroeker.
Business management and philosophy junior Devin Salcedo, said even though there’s a part of him that’s concerned, he won’t be curtailing his lifestyle because of any mass shootings.
“If there was a large event here on campus, I don’t think that that would be a deterrent for me. If it was something I wanted to go (to), I would still go,” he said.
Kroeker said that the police department practices active shooter situations around town, often coordinating those practices with other law enforcement agencies, as well as the fire department. They have even practiced at CSUB before with UPD.
UPD is responsible for the security of all events that occur on campus.
The goal for campus security is for visitors to come to campus to have a fun and safe time and look forward to coming back.
Sanger said safety would change on campus.
“As we grow as a university, there will be change,” he said.
“I think we are very much advanced in this city as to how we approach the potential of an active shooter here. As a citizen, I would be very confident in the police’s ability to protect them during an active shooter,” said Kroeker.