By Amy Huber, Editor –
MCC classes in the science wing and Stevenson Center will be moved to other locations
in the main building on Friday, Oct. 14.
The move is due to a law enforcement training drill, formerly referred to as an active
shooter drill. Only people associated with the drill will be allowed in those parts of the building
and the back parking lot.
The drill will include 30 to 40 officers from several area police agencies as well as the
Michigan State Police. The third practice drill in less than a year, it will take place between 7
a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Stevenson Center and the science wing.
The drills are in response to campus shootings in Oregon and California last year, as
college administrators around the country prepare for safer campuses.
“Teaching and learning have always been and always will be our focus,” said John
Selmon, vice president for student services. “Equally as important, and another one of our
biggest responsibilities, is the concern for safety and security of our students, staff, and people
who visit our various locations daily.”
With this in mind, numerous officers from multiple local jurisdictions join forces and
conduct a major training drill.
“Regular on-going training is a strategic imperative for the college,” said Selmon. “Those
who are not training their people run a higher risk of not being able to respond in a timely
manner to a campus crisis. People will do what they are last trained to do.”
Area law enforcement agencies have performed drills last December and over the
summer. The December drill resulted in “boots” being put at the bottom of doors to make them
extra secure and now every classroom and office on campus has them. If there is too much glass
in the window, then a metal piece has been placed over this glass to make the door more secure.
“During the (summer) drill we learned where strengths and weaknesses lie,” Selmon said,
“and we learned in a safe environment. This informs our future training options. I think any time
you practice something this important, it is a success at many levels.”
The drills have been on Fridays because that seems to be the only day that most law
enforcement officers have been available.
“When you have 30 to 40 officers from multiple jurisdictions, scheduling can be a
nightmare,” he said. “We will push for future drills to be on days other than Fridays. The training
is mutually beneficial for the both the officers and college.”
Police agencies participating in the drill include MSP, Muskegon County Sheriff’s Dept.,
and police departments from Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, North Muskegon, Roosevelt Park,
Fruitport, and Norton Shores.
While finding classrooms on campus has proven to be challenging to students due to the
unusual numbering system, it also is difficult for first responders. Various groups, such as the
MCC Strategic Planning Team, are working on developing a plan to alleviate the problem.
“The President’s Cabinet recently heard a presentation from an agency for numbering and
color-coding the building to improve the ease of visitors navigating the facility,” Selmon said. “It
is on our check-off list.”
The crisis team at MCC consists of 72 members. Led by Marty McDermott (Athletics)
and Darren Mattone (Biology), the team’s purpose is to coordinate procedures and strategies
which increase campus safety as well as security. McDermott and Mattone’s team plans for such
threats as terrorism, violent weather, shootings and hazardous material incidents. They have four
goals: to assess where threats will come from, plan for those threats, train and exercise.
“So if that day should ever happen, we as a college will have a timely response during a
crisis,” Selmon added.