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Campus security group makes recommendations

April 15, 2008 3:19:10 PM PDT
Illinois colleges and universities need to improve security on their campuses. A state task force formed last year following the Virginia Tech shootings presented its recommendations on campus security to the governor Tuesday.

During a ceremony on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus, Governor Rod Blagojevich accepted the recommendations from the task. The governor announced support for legislative proposal, including a $25 million grant program to boost campus security, and a new law to require campus emergency response and violence prevention plans.

"Local police, the campus security, the Illinois State Police, all under the leadership of Chief Grady were able to descend on Cole Hall and quickly address what was a very horrific circumstance," said Blagojevich.

Members of the task force represent a broad spectrum of more than 75 agencies and organizations.

"We need to insure that all campuses have emergency plans and that they are exercised," said Andrew Velasquez, Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

"Raising awareness about mental health issues among students, faculty and staff," said Lorrie Rickman Jones, PhD, Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health.

The governor created the task force two weeks after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech. It also took into account lessons learned from the response and recovery to the shootings at the Northern Illinois campus in DeKalb on February 14.

"That and others will go a long way towards helping all colleges and universities be better prepared for the unexpected," said John Peters, Northern Illinois University-DeKalb president.

The governor asked the task force to continue its efforts for campus security by meeting twice a year to determine how the recommendations are being implemented and determine if additional measures are needed.


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