PAC prioritizes the safety of students

By Maureen Flores
Pulse staff reporter

Officer Mora patrolling Palo Alto Campus. Photo by Corporal Salazar.

Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Students want to feel safe while on Palo Alto’s campus. The Alamo Colleges Police Department makes it their mission to cultivate a safe campus for the community to teach, work, study and learn.

On average, 90 percent of women who are sexually assaulted in college know their attacker.

“I would not want to go to school knowing I have to watch my back when I walk to class,” said Priscilla Casiano, a Business Administration sophomore.

In an effort to ensure campus safety, the Alamo Colleges designed AlamoCARES, a program that educates students about dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Students may also attend active shooter training provided by their campus police. Time and dates for training vary, and students are encouraged to contact their campus police office for more information. Educational safety programs allow students to familiarize themselves with warning signs, learn how to take action and find out whom to call in emergency situations.

At Palo Alto College, police officers patrol the campus 24 hours per day. Courtesy services are also available to students, including escorts, battery boosts, tire inflation and assistance with vehicle lockouts.

Crime Prevention Officer Christopher Fairbank said, “The Alamo Police Department has a can-do spirit. We are very community oriented. We believe in the safety of all of our students, faculty and staff. We will do anything in our power to keep them safe. Officers are available on campus 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Alamo Colleges keep students, faculty and staff updated with Weekly Crime Reports. This year, a total of 33 reports have been filed at San Antonio College, making it the largest crime-affiliated Alamo College campus of 2017.  Reports include assault, theft, vandalism, drunkenness, burglary and invasive recording.  St. Philip’s College lists three theft reports. Palo Alto lists two reports for vehicle burglary and theft. Northwest Vista College has two reports of vehicle burglary and drug possession. Northeast Lakeview College lists one theft.

“A safe learning environment is a good learning environment. I believe that Palo Alto College has a moderately safe campus,” said Gabe Lombrano, a Business Administration sophomore.

In case of an emergency, PAC officials will send phone calls, emails and mobile alerts to all students, faculty and staff on campus. This is the fastest and most convenient way the campus is able to communicate with its students. Therefore, if a student’s contact information changes, it is important to update it immediately. Students should log into their ACES account to make changes under the Personal Information tab.

In an emergency situation, it is important that students follow six tips:

Stay alert. Students should always be aware of their surroundings. Walk as group after night classes.

Become familiar with resources. Know where the campus police station is located. Thirty emergency phone poles are located around PAC’s campus. Each one is programmed to call both 9-1-1 and campus police to the scene with a push of a button.

Students should avoid posting a current location.  This makes students an easy target for perpetrators. Disabling this function is highly recommended.

Always be secure. Students should always lock their car doors and windows. It is important that students remove all valuable and personal items from their vehicles to avoid theft.

Always have a backup plan. Memorize important phone numbers. If for some reason students cannot access their vehicle, pick a safe place to hide until help arrives.

After several attempts to contact the Palo Alto campus police chief for an interview, no one called back.

For more information about campus safety, PAC’s Police Department Office is located next to the Student Center. It is the “P” on the campus map. In the case of an emergency, please call (210) 485-0911. For non-emergencies, students may call (210) 485-0099.

“Remember folks, safety is everyone’s responsibility. So if you see something, say something,”  said Fairbanks.