Expert presentations, interactive workshops and the sponsor showcase were some of the highlights of the event.
Professionals from every level of the campus security industry got together July 25-26 for the third annual Campus Safety Conference East in Washington, D.C.
School and university security personnel came from around the country to take part in the workshops, sit in on expert panels and hear presentations on a variety of topics.
“The conference is great,” Keuka College Director of Campus Safety Jim Cunningham said at the show. “The speakers have been so knowledgeable and the presentations are on a wide range of topics so I’m able to sit in on the subjects I care about the most.”
The conference began with day-long workshops on emergency preparedness (on the K-12 track) and Clery Act training (on the university track).
For the K-12 workshop, Michael and Chris Dorn of Safe Havens International demonstrated the importance of quick thinking in stressful situations by putting attendees in a series of emergency scenarios and evaluating their responses.
“There’s no one procedure or system that keeps your school completely safe,” Michael Dorn told the crowd. “It takes a number of different policies, hardware, software, training and education for a truly effective approach to protecting your schools.”
Meanwhile, members of the Clery Center for Security on Campus gave a condensed version of their training on compliance with the Clery Act, explaining practical action plans colleges can adopt and giving advice on submitting annual security reports, among other things.
Day two of the conference began with panels featuring college police chiefs and K-12 security authorities.
“Just to see how other institutions operate is so valuable,” attendee Scott Williams, police chief at Hampden-Sydney College, said. “I’m from a small private college, so coming here and seeing how other people work, and explaining how we do things, means a lot both ways. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”
Other presentations covered active shooter response, dating violence, underage drinking, crime prevention through environmental design and more.
The major companies in the security industry also attended the event to show off their latest products in the exhibit hall.
“The Campus Safety Conference is one spot where you can rub shoulders with a lot of people, so you get a chance to see things from different perspectives at the same time,” Jamie Allard, a sales manager who operated the Gunnebo exhibit, explained. “We go to schools and talk to specific people in similar roles but at an event like this you get much more broad feedback. Everyone’s got the same goals and we all understand what it takes to provide security.”
Overall, many attendees said they had takeaways they planned to bring back to their institution.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Cunningham said. “That’s what it’s all about, is getting better at doing our job and protecting our schools.”
To learn more about the West conference, which takes place Aug. 9-10, visit campussafetyconference.com/west