CSM Investigates Nov. 18 Emergency Incident

College Encourages Emergency Preparedness

The College of Southern Maryland is investigating and cooperating with police with regard to an incident Nov. 18 at the La Plata Campus which resulted in a lockdown of the campus for approximately 35 minutes. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police responded to the campus for a report of an individual who may have had a hand gun being observed in the Campus Center. Upon their arrival, police detained an individual and determined there was no further threat and lifted the lockdown. In their investigation, officers did establish that another person who was with the group may have had a pellet gun which was consistent with what the campus officer had observed on surveillance cameras. Identities of those involved are being established, and the college will seek appropriate action.

“We are serious about the safety of our campuses and will not tolerate inappropriate behaviors that could put anyone on our campuses at risk. This includes zero tolerance with regard to weapons or anything that would resemble such a weapon,” College of Southern Maryland President Dr. Brad Gottfried said. “I am grateful for the quick response by our faculty and staff on campus to our emergency messaging and our law enforcement officers within the Sheriff's Office and State Police who immediately responded to this incident. College personnel have been training for such emergencies, and as a result our public safety team, and our faculty and staff were able to respond appropriately.”

“The highest priority of CSM is to ensure that our students, faculty, staff and visitors are safe,” said Gottfried. “We live in a society where no one can predict where and when an emergency situation will occur. While we have an outstanding Public Safety and Preparedness Department, they cannot do the job alone. We must all be prepared to act appropriately during emergency situations. Our goal is to constantly work with all members of our community to improve our preparedness and readiness for any and all incidents and emergencies.”

In its ongoing efforts for emergency preparedness, CSM has launched a mobile-ready emergency page of CSM Ready at http://ready.csmd.edu as a one-stop location for emergency information and includes a message by Gottfried which can be viewed below: The web site includes comprehensive information about the college’s operating plans for managing emergencies as well as plans for specific responses to emergencies by members of the college community. The CSM Ready web site also includes the ability to register for emergency notifications as well as to report behavioral incidents and requests for accommodations during emergencies.

“We have been implementing various measures in the past several years so as to have a safe environment for our personnel, students, community members and visitors. With funding provided through our state and county governments we have been able to add security measures and public safety officers at all of our campuses. Training has been implemented for staff and faculty, and will continue on an ongoing basis to keep safety and security always in the forefront. This also includes training and exercising our procedures. We consider every incident an exercise of our procedures and an opportunity to improve,” Gottfried said.

“It is critical with recent events across our nation that we all become partners to ensure safety in our communities. On our campuses we urge students, employees and visitors to report immediately anything suspicious or activities they consider as a threat. This can be reported directly to any public safety officer or by calling emergency 911,” said Executive Director of Public Safety and Preparedness Donald Frick. The college encourages anyone involved in an incident to complete an after action report, which is available at CSM Ready. This After Action Report is an opportunity to enhance the college’s emergency operations plans based on the thorough information provided.

“We take all reports seriously, and we have a team in place to respond to all concerns, and to implement disciplinary actions as warranted, from suspension and expulsion, to police investigation and possible arrest,” said Vice President of Student and Instructional Services Dr. Bill Comey.

Emergency notifications are available by text message or email, as well as posted to the CSM Ready site, the college's home page, and to social media networks of Twitter and Facebook. To subscribe, free registration is available at http://ready.csmd.edu or by typing Ready on a mobile phone to 79516.

In addition, security measures such as bag checks at graduations and large-scale events will begin in January at the college.

“All emergencies, whether by nature or manmade, are what we all have a responsibility to prepare for; to expect the unexpected. Recent incidents around the nation at shopping centers, movie theaters, schools, and college campuses are what force people to realize all of us are vulnerable in today's society. It really is up to each one of us to be watching, reporting anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, and learning how to prepare ourselves for the unexpected,” Gottfried said.