Students Question LCC Lockdown Response

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As Pam Rymanowicz walked to campus Monday morning, she got a call to to alert her of a possible gunman on campus.

The only problem, she said, is the call didn't come from campus police.

"My roommate called me and said, 'hide, someone's on campus with a gun,'" said Rymanowicz, studying business in a joint program between Lansing Community College and Ferris State. "I thought he was joking."

LCC locked down campus for about 20 minutes Monday morning, after someone called 911 to report a gun-like object sticking out of a student's backpack as he entered the building.

Rymanowicz received an email alert at 10:02 a.m., like the rest of campus -- 15-20 minutes after her roommate's call. And she wasn't the only one wishing she was told sooner.

"Many [students] were upset that the campus didn't notify them that there was anything happening," she said. "Why did it take so long?"

For LCC Director of Police Bill French, "so long" wasn't that long at all. He was "extremely pleased" of his team's response he said.

Lansing Police responded first, French said, because that's who 911 dispatched. LCC police only learned of the incident when they heard LPD responding.

"They beat us here," French said. "We had to get over there and act as quickly as we could. So yes, you probably would have saw Lansing Police Officers before you would have saw any text or PA announcements."

Federal law, known as the Clery Act, mandates that colleges "immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency."

"Confirmation" is the operative word, French said. Once his officers were able to respond, they determined there was enough danger to lock down.

"We're only going to lock down if we feel there's a danger to students and staff," French said. "If we had reports of shots fired or multiple reports of shots fired and the call had come into us, it would have been a lot faster."

Locked 'In a Fishbowl'

Rymanowicz said she was also disappointed in the way the school locked down. She was corralled into the Learning Center in the Arts and Sciences building -- a glass-walled room on the first floor.

"The Learning Center is nothing but a glass room on Washington Square," she said. "That room, there was no seating left and you're like a fish in a fishbowl. So if there really was a shooter, we'd be prime [targets]."

French said some buildings on campus are bound to be modern by design. And though they have a lot of glass, there are a lot of safety features too.

He says staff members are trained to "Run, Hide, Fight" in the event of an active shooter.

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