Ferguson on Fire: How Would Meramec Respond to Riots, Looting and Violence?

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Police more visible on all STLCC campuses

Members of the Kirkwood community and local churches participate in a candlelight vigil Aug. 14, to show support for the people of Ferguson and local police following the death of Michael Brown and violence in the city. PHOTO | DAVID KLOECKENER

Members of the Kirkwood community and local churches participate in a candlelight vigil Aug. 14, to show support for the people of Ferguson and local police following the death of Michael Brown and violence in the city. PHOTO | DAVID KLOECKENER

By: LIVIE HALL
Managing Editor

Classes started at all STLCC campuses on Monday, Aug. 18 – including STLCC-Florissant Valley, which is a two minute drive from the QuikTrip that was burned down by looters on Aug. 10 – the night after the Michael Brown shooting.

The Admissions Office at the college confirmed on Aug. 18 that classes were in session and the campus was open.

STLCC-Meramec Police Chief Anthony Russo said there is no reason for students to worry on Meramec’s campus. He said he and STLCC-Forest Park Police Chief Richard Banahan have sent a police officer from each their departments to the STLCC-Florissant Valley campus to make police more visible and help students feel safe.

“Not because the campus isn’t safe – it is,” Meramec President Pam McIntyre said. “But just in case any activity were to develop around the campus, they’d have more police officers up there.”

Russo said his officer was at STLCC-Florissant Valley for ten hours a day, Monday through Thursday. He said they may add an officer on the weekends, but right now they were “playing it by ear.”

As for safety on the Meramec campus, Russo said there are 67 internal cameras on campus and seven exterior. A police sub-station was also added to the library during the 2013-14 school year.

McIntyre said Russo had already been working on new shifts for his officers prior to the Ferguson incident. Russo said he has been working on making his officers more visible on Meramec’s campus via foot patrol and segways.

“If we’re close, people can contact us faster and we can respond faster,” Russo said.

Russo said his officers are now fully trained to handle any potential situation on campus. There is a new 10-hour work schedule that provides up to five officers a day Monday through Thursday from the morning until the night. There are also full time officers on the weekends.

Russo said he has not heard of any students being fearful or nervous on campus since the Ferguson incident. His priority is the safety of the students.

McIntyre said campus police have a good relationship with the Kirkwood Police Department.

“If you actually had an active shooter up here, it’s not going to only involve the Meramec campus. You would have Kirkwood Police up here, first responders, etc,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre said Russo and his officers held an active shooter drill for campus police and other law enforcement on Aug. 8. The day consisted of in class activities as well as active exercises.

McIntyre said if there were to be a riot on campus, it would be similar to the active shooter drill, as far as who would come out – first responders and other outside agencies.

She said there is no indication to be any more worried on this campus than you would be living or driving in the area.

“I think people are just trying to work through the ever evolving situation that is occurring and trying to figure out what ways and shapes and forms things happen,” McIntyre said. “This is a continually evolving situation up there. So it’s hard to know.”

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