While State Fair Community College was closed for an employee professional development day, the college’s Campus Safety and Security as well as local law enforcement, conducted an active-shooter drill Tuesday morning.

The drill, which took place in the Yeater Learning Center, involved SFCC emmployees "acting" as students, faculty and staff would on a normal, sunny day on campus.
A plainclothes officer played the role of an intruder with a firearm and searched through Yeater as though he were looking for a particular target.

The campus was locked down and local law enforcement was contacted.

County deputies and first responders encounter the “suspect” and "neutralized" the threat. SFCC employees will participate in the drill as students, faculty or staff.

During the drill, lockdown announcements were made over the college’s internal public announcement system and through SFCC Alert text and email messages. Law enforcement personnel will arrive and proceed accordingly as they would in a real emergency.

Dr. Autumn Porter, dean of Student and Academic Support Service for SFCC, is part of the college's crisis management team.

"But in order to fully get a good understanding about what we're all up against, I was a classroom participant. So I was in a classroom with my colleagues today," Dr. Porter said. "We were all assigned a space in this building we were testing."

When asked her assessment of the results, Dr. Porter said she was thrilled with how well her colleagues responded.

"The room we were in, immediately leaped into position," she said. "We had windows covered, doors secured, in under 10 seconds. Very stressful for everyone, and we were able to identify some places where we may need to make some improvements, structurally, and certainly in the communications system. There were spots on campus where the announcements could not be heard. So that's one of the things we have to change in order to continue to protect our colleagues and students."

Dr. Porter said things might have been more difficult had the campus been full of students on a normal day. Evacuation would have been slower.

"We are planning to work collaboratively with other folks in the county, with the EMA, to put this in place on a three-year rotation," Dr. Porter noted. "We have students and faculty at the high school, and also at the hospital for clinical. So we will invite those partners to come here next time."