BY LEANN DILBECK –
With shootings on college campuses recently in the news and on the minds of college officials, RMCC conducted its first ever “active shooter training” session January 9 with all of its faculty, adjunct faculty and staff. President Phillip Wilson explained, “All school shootings are horrible, but the most recent community college shooting in Oregon really hit home for me. There are many similarities between RMCC and Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Umpqua’s size, community, rural location… all have a Mena and RMCC feel.”
RMCC Resource Officer ASP (ret.) Tommy Stueart in conjunction with Polk County Deputy Sheriff Scott Sawyer and Sheriff Mike Godfrey assisted RMCC with the training and presenting a very “real life” training session. Wilson also credited Justin Wagner, Polk County School Resource Officer with the Acorn campus of the Ouachita River School District as being a huge help as well.
“The training put on by Officers Stueart and Sawyer was excellent,” said Wilson. “Everyone was trained on the new Rave Panic Alert phone app and classroom / office protocol in an open shooter situation. An actual assault rifle was discharged in the halls so that faculty and staff could hear what a round sounded like when they were situated in their classroom or office.”
Wilson said the college is committed to being a leader on this topic and that RMCC will continue to train its faculty and staff. “We have already begun working on the mental health component and identifying as early as possible those individuals that might need assistance and help. There are no three better and safe counties than Polk, Montgomery, and Scott. However, in today’s world, and especially higher education, we must make the effort to be out in front and lead the discussion on student and employee safety.”
Always on Wilson’s mind, he added, “One of RMCC’s top priorities is that of student and employee safety. I think about it every day and RMCC has put in a tremendous amount of effort to make our institution as safe as possible. It is a never-ending effort.”