NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Emergency drills and crisis plans are a little like insurance – you hope you never need them.
But preparation paid off when, during the overnight hours of Oct. 6-7, there were reports of shots being fired near Bethel College’s Administration Building.
Early responders immediately enacted emergency procedures, locking down the campus with text alerts and loudspeaker systems as designed. Information was also posted to the college website and social media.
Local police officials began their investigation and, after determining no imminent danger, issued an all-clear.
The shots allegedly came from CO2 pistols discharged near the college’s hallmark building. It is believed that the shots were not aimed at anyone.
No arrests have been made, but college disciplinary procedures will be enacted once responsibility for the discharge of weapons has been determined.
“Our people responded to the report immediately – no questions asked – and enacted emergency procedures just as we have trained and drilled,” said President Perry D. White. “Our very first precaution is the safety of our students and staff.
“The best news is that the process worked exactly as it should have. Compliments to our student life staff for the way they enacted the process and to the campus for the way they responded, following their training precisely.”
Events took place during the college’s fall break, which concludes Tuesday evening.
Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.
SIDEBAR: Bethel College policy on weapons, firearms and explosives
Bethel College prohibits the use or possession of firearms, with or without a valid Kansas permit.
A. The storage of any kind of ammunition is prohibited.
B. Weapons such as, but not limited to, stun guns, daggers, retractable bladed knives, knives with a fixed blade over 2.5 inches used for any purpose other than cooking, martial arts equipment, any device resembling a firearm (e.g., airsoft, paintball, BB guns), slingshots, spear guns, bows and arrows, explosives, fireworks, lasers and taser guns are prohibited.
C. The improper discharge of a chemical agent including, but not limited to, mace, pepper spray or other aerosols is prohibited.
D. Other items or implements used aggressively or for violent purposes are prohibited and should be reported.