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Questions Loom About Campus Security

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

April 18, 2007

In the wake of the Virginia Tech attack, college campuses across the country are reexamining their security procedures.

Susan Russell, a parent of a Virginia Tech junior, believes all university police departments lack the experience to handle violent crimes.

“Let's face [it], they don't have crimes such as murders occur so they don't have the latest in techniques or the latest training,” said Russell.

Russell said she knows first hand. She blames the University of Virginia Police for botching the investigation into her daughter’s rape in 2004.

An administrative board was their only way to resolve the situation. They allowed the young man to remain on campus, and the following fall, he raped another young woman.

Russell has been fighting for Virginia lawmakers to pass a bill that would force university police to hand over jurisdiction to local law enforcement in the case of a felony. She said had the law been in place, maybe lives at Virginia Tech could have been saved.

However, some school shooting experts disagree.

“When you have a domestic shooting or a shooting that seems to be over, you don't shut down the whole town,” said Dewey Cornell, a UVa professor and expert on school shootings.

Cornell said hindsight is always 20-20, and Russell says that's why we should learn from how this tragedy was handled.

“Rather than point fingers, we need to fix it so it doesn't happen again,” said Russell.

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