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UK at US campus security meet

The 55th annual conference of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) was in Louisville, Kentucky, from 28 June to July 2. One of the UK attenders, Bernadette Duncan, COO of the UK university security management association AUCSO, writes.

Hosted by the University of Kentucky, delegates were not deterred from attending by the 30-plus degrees heat and severe thunderstorms, and almost 400 delegates arrived from across the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Ghana, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, China and the United Kingdom. Delegates were joined on the first two days by 122 exhibitors displaying new services and equipment including a stolen laptop tracing system, communications and security systems, electric patrol vehicles, bomb blast curtains, weapon storage, crowd barriers and security guarding companies, to name but a few.

Ray Wheatley, Security Manager from City University Dublin is the IACLEA International Director and welcomed all the international delegates including Peter Haines from the University of Bradford and Bernadette Duncan MBE representing the UK’s own Association of University Chief Security Officers.

The conference contained some sensitive but informative case studies including ‘Handling the Media at a Mass Casualty Event’ from Lieut Paul Vance, Connecticut State Police, who was the police spokesperson at the Sandy Hook School shooting last year, and on a similar theme, Doug Abraham, Chief of Police, University of Colorado, who responded to the Aurora movie theatre mass shooting in 2012 gave a presentation ‘When an Off Campus Tragedy Affects Your Campus’. Both sessions gave valuable lessons learned to the audience of police chiefs and security directors who no doubt went away with the hope they would never need to use them.

Another harrowing account was made by one of the survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. The ex-student was shot twice by the lone gunman Seung-Hui Cho and left for dead in her classroom before the gunman took his own life. Now fully recovered this brave young lady gives public safety talks to Schools and Campuses around the USA.

The presentations were not all shooting-related, though! New technology demonstrations were given, including one on how to make your own crime prevention app for smart phones. Easy when you know how! The technophobes amongst us need to talk to our younger employees, as it seems they have the skills and desire to play around with this technology.

Legal updates were also on the agenda, including one on building a compliance programme for the Clery Act, which requires all American campuses to publish their crime reports and statistics. This is not required in the UK although most universities do keep their own crime and incident records.

Emergency response was included in another session on ‘A University responds to an F5 Tornado’. Perhaps not on risk registers in the UK although with the strange weather patterns recently, maybe it should be?

On the social side delegates were able to mix at various events, including a private visit to the ‘Louisville Slugger’ factory, where the baseball bats are made, and for some lucky delegates, an evening trip to ‘Churchill Downs’ racecourse where the famous Kentucky Derby takes place. We won’t say who won or lost the most!


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