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UPDATED: NKU officers respond to gun incident

Forrest Wesley Wills

Forrest Wesley Wills

Carrie Crotzer, Editor-in-Chief

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It was a seemingly normal Thursday when social media began a frenzy of news that someone was in possession of a gun on NKU’s campus.

 

It was around 11 a.m. on Aug. 27 when NKU lit up Twitter with news of an event that had occurred nearly an hour before on the third floor of Steely Library.

 

The tweets, originally sent by NKU’s official Twitter account, were brief, informing students, faculty and staff that a student, later named as Jaylin Johnson, had been arrested for possession of a gun and that there was no immediate threat to the university.

 

According to Amanda Nageleisen, director of public relations for NKU, Campus police received a call around 9:45 a.m. on Aug. 27 that someone was in possession of a gun and responded to the library within 90 seconds.

 

An incident report released by the Kentucky State Police states that a call was received saying a black female student (Johnson) had a gun in her hands. Upon arrival, NKU’s Detective Bobby Pate identified Johnson and pulled her aside for questioning, where she admitted to having the gun in her backpack.

 

Further questioning by NKU Police revealed that Johnson had gone to the library to find a female student in the seat that she wanted and asked her to move before showing her the gun, to which the female student moved and called police. A background check ran by police showed that Johnson did not have a concealed carry weapon permit.

 

Johnson was indicted in court Aug. 28 for carrying a concealed weapon, menacing and disorderly conduct. Her arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 3.

 

According to government officials, part of Johnson’s bond is that she is not allowed to be on campus without the permission of university officials or campus police.

 

Because of the event occurring so quickly, university officials didn’t have time to send out a NorseAlert, a system that is used to notify the community of potentially dangerous situations on campus, which many students complained about.

 

“There was no existing state of emergency because they were there within a minute and had secured the situation within the space of two minutes,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said.

 

According to the university, the alert will be activated when the university determines that a serious threat exist and the campus community must take immediate action to remain safe and secure, adding that with police responding so quickly the alert wasn’t needed.

 

“We need to reflect on what was a serious incident and how quickly our officers responded to the incident,” Mearns said. “When we consider what happened there, particularly the chatter out in the community that universities shouldn’t have their own police force, this is a good example of why a well trained, well prepared police force is so important to campus security and securing the wellbeing of everyone on campus.”

 

Moving forward, Mearns says that the university plans to convene a group to assess how the university responded to the incident and how they can improve for the future.

 

Katie Herschede, executive assistant to the president, said that students should be aware that if there is an emergency situation on campus calling 911 is the best option, as it will direct you to campus dispatch.

 

If there is an emergency situation on campus that calls for a lockdown, all buildings can be remotely locked and announcements will be made over an intercom system throughout the entire campus.

 

However, Mearns added that they are reviewing current policies to see where adjustments can be made in emergency response with new Chief of Police, Leslie Kachurek.

“We’re in the process now, with our new police chief, again as part of this incident, looking at our current emergency preparedness plans and seeing ways in which we can strengthen them. And those include the whole spectrum of potential emergencies,” Mearns said. “So I think you’re going to see that we’re going to be communicating a lot more clearly ways in which faculty staff and students should respond.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
UPDATED: NKU officers respond to gun incident