Oakwood University reflects on Virginia Tech shooting and improving student safety

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It has been 12 years since the Virginia Tech campus shooting, a massacre that left 27 students and 5 faculty members dead.

Oakwood University said when the Virginia Tech shooting happened, it did not have a police department on its campus. Soon after, it incorporated its very own department on campus.

The department has also put in place a team designed specifically to address reported student behavior before its too late.

"Since Virginia Tech we've instituted a behavioral intervention team, that way if instructors see something," explained Chief Melvin Harris. "You know maybe the student is writing something dangerous and they see it in their writing, they're able to get that information to us and we're able to look into that student. See what's going on with them, and get them that help before something happens in the future."

In the case authorities aren't able to address a threat before danger strikes, Oakwood leaders encourage students to get to safety if they can.

"If they're in that area where the active shooter is, they need to either run, get out, hide, barricade in place," added Harris. "Worst case scenario, if you have to take out the active shooter that's what you would have to do."

Harris said police also send out a emergency notification to students, and social media has boosted the reach of those.

"The emergency notifications actually work very well, because the students get that information and they share it on Twitter," said Harris.

The department says any signs of odd or frightening behavior should be reported to campus police.

"We have a program called, 'See something, say something.' That means if you see anything that goes on, on this campus, whether you think its nothing," added Harris. "Let us be the ones to find that out."

The university would rather its students be safe than sorry.

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