DMACC security offer a variety of services

In 2018, there have been 26 school shootings in the United States when including K-12 and higher education. That begs the question, “do you feel safe at school?” Many students might not be aware of all that DMACC security does to keep them safe on campus every day.

Eight random students in Building 5 this week answered a few preliminary questions on the topic. We see them every day, but when asked if our DMACC security team is armed, they answered “I would assume so,” “They have at least something,” and “I’ve seen the holster with something, I think.” Also, no one knew much about DMACC security’s on-campus traffic stop capabilities. “I didn’t think they could do anything, to be honest,” one Ankeny student said.

Only two of the eight students knew that you may call for campus security to escort you from class to car at any time of day or evening.

Professor Jay Tiefenthaler, along with teaching at DMACC, is the Director of Campus Safety, and he explained security’s role on campus.

“It’s a lot more complex than a lot of [students] realize… I like [that] a lot of students think that security is the officer in the white uniform, but the reality is there’s a lot of layers that are going on every day that people aren’t aware of,” Tiefenthaler said.

Tiefenthaler elaborated that DMACC also coordinates with local law enforcement agencies.

“We ask [Boone Police] to have a presence at any DMACC athletic event, and that’s what we do at all locations,” he said.

The only campuses with DMACC security officers are Ankeny, Urban and West. The other locations have a cooperative effort with local law enforcement agencies for patrols and security.

Also, students may not know that campus security vehicles can and will pull you over for on-campus traffic violations.

Anyone caught speeding, running a stop sign or not stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks, or other minor traffic violations will be issued a ticket just like a regular traffic stop and security can run your license for criminal and driving history just like a regular stop. The difference is at DMACC those tickets stay in-house instead of going to DMV records, and need to be paid before final grades are issued.

When asked if the Mollie Tibbetts case has had any impact on policies or if the security team has changed or reviewed any standards, Tiefenthaler explained the importance of what he called “environmental awareness.”

This involves individuals knowing their routes, having someone know where they are if alone, using the buddy system, being conscious of surroundings, and knowing where to seek help.

Tiefenthaler stresses that if you are worried or concerned in any way, you should always call security, and someone will escort you to your vehicle.

“There’s a lot of other things we do … I do walking audits at night where I walk around campus to look for blind spots, shadowed spots, we look at stuff like if bushes need to be cut back or removed because it’s a spot for someone to hide. These are things people probably don’t think we do, but we audit our own security [to create a safer environment] whether it’s day or night.” Tiefenthaler didn’t give any information on if any specific policy or standard has been changed, but he did clarify and stress that “we are continuously evaluating ‘what could we do to improve safety and security at DMACC?’”

Although DMACC security is about 60 percent former military or law enforcement according to Tiefenthaler, they are not armed. There is a push to arm the security posted in Ankeny’s Buildings 5 and 9, because of the childcare in those buildings.

On this issue, Tiefenthaler explained this proposal is partly because of the number of young children who would have no way to fight back in an active shooter situation. He explained that those programs and instructors already have “procedures in place that are very specific … internally, they [already] have additional standards.”

He went on to say that “for [security], one thing is to have an additional presence at the kiosk right outside Trail Point…and increased walkthroughs of Building 9”. Tiefenthaler said that the evaluation of this proposal is still a work in progress.

According to the students interviewed, campus security members at Ankeny are always friendly, approachable, and willing to help with directions or anything else. The overall message Tiefenthaler gave was “see something, say something.” Students are safe as long as they are engaged, informed, and cooperative with each other and the DMACC security team, because they do much more than seen by students to keep them safe every day.

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