With the number of mass shootings skyrocketing over the past decade, Taylor is taking precautionary measures through the distribution of a campus-wide safety video.
Gun Violence Archive reported 337 mass shootings have occurred as of Oct. 15. Out of that number, there have been at least 76 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Chief of Police Jeff Wallace stated many people within the Taylor community have worked to establish a precautionary safety video. He said the video features a run, hide and fight technique featured by the Department of Homeland Security. The video is expected to be released sometime this month.
Wallace also wants the community to feel safe on Taylor’s campus.
“We go to where the problem is and address that problem,” Wallace said. “TU Alert is a big part of the process because you need to let the community know so that they can be alert if something is going on involving their safety.”
Even still, Wallace is concerned about people’s’ lack of understanding surrounding the term “lockdown.” He said most active shooter scenarios are taking place outdoors, which makes it harder for people to find a place of safety. To him, it makes more sense to seek cover.
Yet some students remain concerned. Sophomore Amanda Hotte is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and knows survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018. She feels Taylor should talk about gun violence more.
“It’s an epidemic, and it is happening far too frequently,” Hotte said.
Hotte thinks there should be meetings on campus to talk about what the Taylor community can do to help places affected by gun violence.
Sophomore Linnea Solak also believes that the community should be aware of what’s happening not just in the country, but what’s occurring on a local scale. She stated that people should also be careful not to live in a spirit of fear.
“We shouldn’t be naive, but it also shouldn’t be a constant fear in our lives,” Solak said. “We’re called not to fear, so being aware without being constantly afraid can be a good balance.”
Wallace is aware of the prevalence of gun violence that has been consuming the country. Gun violence on school property has become a concern across America since the incident at Columbine High School in 1999, and officers like Wallace believe that the overarching piece on this issue is that everybody has a personal responsibility to their community.
According to Wallace, the police department at Taylor provides a front layer of 24/7 security and works closely with local law enforcement. Even still, he states the department is only part of the solution. The people of Upland contribute as well.
“If you see something, say something,” Wallace said. “The community is our eyes and ears.”
Wallace also said he values the students and faculty of Taylor and the relationships the department holds with them. He believes open communication between law enforcement and local individuals encourages trust.
“We are there for (the Taylor community) and we’ve worked hard to form an equal relationship where there’s trust mutual ways,” Wallace said. “I want to see that continue. And that starts with communication.”