Lockdown drill highlights heightened TMU campus security procedures

L.A.+Sheriff%27s+Department+took+part+in+TMU%27s+lockdown+drill+on+Thursday%2C+Dec.+5.

Jonathan Salomon

L.A. Sheriff's Department took part in TMU's lockdown drill on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Caleb Phillips, Contributing Writer

Jonathan Salomon
L.A. Sheriff’s Department took part in TMU’s lockdown drill on Thursday, Dec. 5.

According to U.S. World Report, California has had the highest number of school shootings since 1970 with 159. In contrast, The Master’s University is located in Santa Clarita, Calif., one of the safest cities in America to raise a child.

However, as the Nov. 14 shooting at Saugus High reminded everyone, you can never assume safety, not even at TMU. For that reason, the university staged a lockdown drill at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Chris Powell, director of campus safety, oversaw the event, which is part of a years-long and ongoing training regimen to keep campus safe.

The focus of this drill was to, “force on force training alongside the police department taking place at local public schools, as well as deputies being staged at the lockdown,” Powell said.

TMU is the first armed school in Santa Clarita with campus safety being able to work so closely with L.A. Sheriff’s Department.

“Campus safety has a good relationship with law enforcement, including many members being formerly sworn,” said campus safety officer Eric Duran.

Students were alarmed first by text and then instructed by a professor or faculty member to the nearest safeguard. Students filed into classrooms silently as they prepared for the lockdown, keeping the doors locked waiting for the all-clear.

While waiting, students were shown a safety video. Debbie Birgean, a sophomore music major was asked what she thought.

“The video was helpful and gave me an idea of what I should do if the situation did arise on our campus,” she said.

A few minutes after the video finished, another mass text was sent out signaling to faculty and staff they were free to unlock the doors and it was all clear.

“I feel safe having talked to campus security as they made me aware of the new changes that will take place,” said sophomore Diana Strattan, a teacher education major. Strattan added that she was comfortable because she knew it was a drill and because she “grew up doing fire and earthquake drills with her family.”

Campus Security prays before every shift, and their motto is Psalm 127:1.

“Unless the Lord looks over a city, a watchmen stays awake in vain.”

For students that may still have concerns, Powell offered some helpful advice.

“These feelings are normal, but as Christians we must embrace God’s sovereignty over our safety,” he said.

Campus safety is well-equipped and taking the proper course of action with exact details not being disclosed for safety regulations.