Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Governor Fletcher Directs University Presidents, State Officials to Review Campus Safety Procedures

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 20, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker
502-564-2611
 


FRANKFORT, Ky. – In the wake of Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, Governor Ernie Fletcher has directed Kentucky’s university presidents to submit their campus emergency response plans to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and has asked a work group to review these plans to look for areas of possible expansion, such as alternative methods of communicating with students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency situation.

The directive came during a conference call Governor Fletcher had with university presidents Wednesday evening. Representatives participating in the call included state-supported institutions, community and technical colleges, independent colleges and universities, the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety, the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Kentucky National Guard, the Center for School Safety, Kentucky Education Cabinet, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and Kentucky State Police.

“In light of this tragedy, it is reassuring to hear directly from our university presidents and others that preventive measures are being taken to help Kentucky’s campuses be as safe and secure as possible,” said Governor Fletcher. “Each representative had an emergency plan and had already taken steps to help ensure student safety on their campuses. It is important that we take these plans, discuss them as a group and put in place the most thorough plans possible to use in response to emergency situations.”

BG Norman Arflack, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, will direct the review and coordination of the effort. Governor Fletcher has also appointed a work group to review and coordinate any immediate recommendations which may develop from the review.

“Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech has made us all take a look at our everyday lives and the safety of our communities,” said Arflack. “This group will work diligently to review existing plans and make recommendations we hope will lead to safe campuses and communities across Kentucky.”

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Jack Adams and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Deputy Secretary Teresa Barton will also participate in the work group. Other members will be appointed within the next few days.

In addition to reviewing existing university plans, the group will:

Discuss ways to expand communications capability to include alternative methods of notifying students of a possible emergency. This plan will include utilizing all available technology for notification.
Recommend ways to include private colleges and universities across Kentucky in the state’s integrated emergency response plans. Table-top exercises will be held to offer an opportunity for university officials, first responders and others involved in the process to become familiar with these plans.
Discuss coordination efforts between universities, local law enforcement, emergency responders and state officials.
Governor Fletcher has also asked the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety asking them to focus on the Virginia Tech tragedy and recommend ways Kentucky can learn from the tragedy. The Governor requested that this portion of the task force’s work be expedited and completed before the original July 1 deadline. The task force, established in January, meets again at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, in Room 125 of the Capitol Annex.