Knapp addresses GW safety in wake of national campus shootings

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Hanna Willwerth

After three fatal shootings took place on college campuses this month, University President Steven Knapp assured faculty during a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that GW is prepared to deal with similar scenarios on campus.

“In the wake of the campus shootings, I want you to be aware that this is something we do pay a lot of attention to,” Knapp said. “They seem to happen with great frequency, and this is something we pay a lot of attention to.”

On Friday there were two separate, deadly school shootings at Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University, after a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week. The Los Angeles Times reported there has been a school shooting almost once a week since 2012.

Knapp said administrators have plans to deal with an active shooter on campus by collaborating with other local police and security forces.

This year, GW hired new University Police Department Chief RaShall Brackney. Knapp said her experience working as a commander in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, collaborating with universities in the area, prepared her to work on GW’s campus.

“RaShall Brackney is a highly professional and articulate police chief. She really knows the academic environment,” Knapp said.

In the past, UPD and the Metropolitan Police Department have drawn criticism for the way in which they’ve responded to gun threats on campus. In November 2013, UPD waited 15 minutes to inform MPD about a possible active gunman in South Hall, but the suspect was found to not be a threat. Earlier that month, MPD officers did not tell UPD about an armed robbery on campus until several hours after the incident.

In 2012, Gelman Library was evacuated after a possible suspect who was allegedly armed was spotted in the building. The suspect was found to not be in the library.

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