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Colleges Prepared for Gunman Situation

August 4, 2011- WFXL -  On Thursday Virginia Tech was placed under lockdown after reports of a possible gunman on campus, but since then the alert has been lifted. College security officials in Albany said they’ve prepared, practiced and are on standby just in case they have to face this type of emergency.

Police on the campus of Albany State University (ASU) said they hope they won’t have to face a situation where there's an active shooter on campus, but they know there's always the possibility of a terror strike. Because of this, they have a plan in place and the first step is to stop all movement.

“We want to try to lockdown the campus, which we will need help. So we will notify the other law enforcement agencies,” said Albany Police Interim Chief John Fields.

Once outside officials are on the campus, they assess the situation and go from there. Interim Chief John Fields said they use a Connect Ed system to alert students and faculty about possible danger. This allows individuals to be contacted via email, text or phone. Parents are also advised to sign up for this feature.

“If you really want to know what's going on if there is an emergency. Put your home number in there or your cell phone, so you'll get the same message that the students get,” said Interim Chief John Fields.

In addition to phone alerts, the school uses an inside intercom and outside siren that can be heard from miles away. Albany Technical College also uses an alarm system to notify their students of danger.

“Within our building, we can send out tones that tell individuals on campus what kind of incident that we may have here,” said Albany Tech Safety Chair Kenn Singleton.

Both schools have telephones placed around campus for dire situations. School officials at ASU spent the Thursday testing the phones. Campus police said they're striving to keep communication open while protecting their students.

Albany State has about 191 cameras on the campus to identify suspects and by the beginning of school they will have close to 300, said officials. They said this year they will be stepping up security.

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