UP chief says campus ‘very safe,’ but warns against complacency

Western Kentucky University garnered national coverage about a reported campus shooting, which police say was false.

However, Northern Kentucky University’s Police Chief Harold Todd said he’d have taken similar actions for that situation.

“As University Police, we have to act on information we receive,” Todd said. “If someone calls in with an emergency, we don’t have time to say ‘is this real?'”

WKU police received four phone calls Oct. 22 regarding individuals with weapons on its campuses, including one caller who reported gunshots. The police later determined that no shots had been fired.

Nonetheless, Todd said that officers responded appropriately, and that NKU has similar protocols should such an event take place.

“If a person called in, saying they saw someone go into the suites and heard shots, we’d do a lot of things at the same time,” he said. Officers would head to the building reported. UP would also call on NKU staff at the Physical Plant to assist in barricading any roads, sidewalks or other paths to the edifice.

Meanwhile, via Norse Alert, Todd said students who signed up for the program would receive warnings to avoid campus or, if already here, stay where they are. NKU would also activate its outdoor sirens.

Officers would speak with whomever called UP before going through the building “hallway by hallway, door by door,” Todd said. As officers found people, they’d advise them to stay put and lock the door.

Todd said the precautions are in place in case the worst should happen.

“It can happen any time, any where,” he said, “today, a year, five years. We have to be prepared.”

Nonetheless, he maintains that NKU remains a “very safe campus,” noting that the location means NKU doesn’t experience the excessive traffic that leads to violent stranger-on-stranger crime.

“(It’s not like the University of) Cincinnati, with people driving through campus all the time,” he said. “A lot of crime is crime of opportunity