UNC Charlotte examines security practices after Ohio State attack

by: Brittney Johnson Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The news of the attack on Ohio State University’s campus, that left 11 people hurt, sent shock waves through campuses nationwide, including at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

UNC Charlotte police Chief Jeff Baker said as soon as he got word of the attack, his team started to analyze what happened and how they would respond to an attack of that magnitude on UNCC’s campus.

Baker said the school security team has a system that allows it to lock down 98 percent of campus within seconds by pressing one button.

"You can exit but you can't enter," Baker said.

He said it is one part of the plan to protect more than 33,000 student and faculty members in the event of an attack similar to the one on Ohio State University's campus Monday. A knife-wielding student used a car to hit and stab 11 others before being shot and killed by campus police.

"A threat like that yesterday is just unbelievable and to proactively prevent that would be very difficult," Baker said.

He told Channel 9 that over the past year and a half, UNC Charlotte has invested in safety upgrades that could save lives. The school installed a campus-wide lockdown system, created a position to solely oversee its 400-plus security cameras and the Police Department just earned international accreditation.

Baker said the improvements are consistent with a nationwide trend in response to major events.

"Universities in our nation have really strengthened their security component," he said.

UNC Charlotte students said the changes and constant communication make them feel secure.

"They're always keeping us in touch with what they're doing and I appreciate that," student Dominic Vincent said.

Campus police said that they've only pushed the button to lock down campus twice a year during drills. But if a situation similar to Ohio happened in Charlotte, it is part of the plan they would use to protect students.

UNC Charlotte is encouraging students to use the Live Safe app. It has directions for what to do in case of an active shooter or any other type of major event.

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