Editorial: UConn provides effective response at Oak Hall incident

UConn police and fire crews shut down Oak Hall at approximately 4:15 p.m. on March 29, 2017. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

UConn police and fire crews shut down Oak Hall at approximately 4:15 p.m. on March 29, 2017. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

In late March, University of Connecticut police were summoned to investigate what eventually turned out to be a false alarm at Oak Hall. A person in the building was concerned about an overheard conversation and reported it to the police. As a result numerous UCPD vehicles arrived on the scene, blocking the entrances to the building until they confirmed that there was no threat. During that time students were directed to shelter in the nearest classroom. While the whole event turned out to be a misunderstanding, UCPD and the UConn Administration demonstrated that they were well prepared to protect students.

Over the years there have been an unfortunate number of attacks on college campuses. While the likelihood of one occurring is still statistically low, there is no reason not to be prepared. UCPD’s response was swift and decisive, as they moved quickly to ensure there was no imminent danger to students. Even after confirming that there was no threat, they spent another half an hour sweeping the building to leave no room for doubt. They showed that they take the security of students seriously and that they are dedicated to doing their jobs right.

UConn police said they were called after someone over heard a concerning conversation. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

UConn police said they were called after someone over heard a concerning conversation. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

Both UCPD and the university helped to ensure that there was no panic, and that everything proceeded in an orderly fashion. Panic can often make a bad situation worse, and in this case could have created a problem where one didn’t initially exist. Inside of Oak Hall, students were placed under lockdown in classrooms. Students expressed that they were relatively content with the situation and just studied. There was, of course, some uncertainty but the police acted in such a fashion that made the students feel safe, which is crucial. In addition, the university used its alert system to notify students outside of Oak about what was going on. This minimized the risk that any students would hinder the investigation and potentially put themselves in harms way.

The security of students is the top priority of the police department at any college campus. The UConn Police Department displayed, without a doubt, that they are fully prepared and willing to do what it takes to safeguard students. Students should certainly be grateful that we have such a terrific department here at UConn watching our backs.