ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ----- As college students gear up for the fall semester, campus police officers are already on patrol to make sure students are safe.
"Emergency preparedness is now one of the most important issues on a college campus."
Rock Valley College Police Interim Chief Rick Jenks has seen a lot in his 20 years on the Loves Park campus. He says how officers prepare constantly evolves.
"We have our own campus police department, many colleges are, if they don't police, are going to campus police. My officers are trained in how to respond to active shooters. So, there's a lot of effort being taken to make campuses much safer,” said Jenks.
More than the typical tips, Jenks works to get students actively involved in their own safety.
"Students are eager to learn, they're eager to be involved in the exercises, they're happy to know that we are conducting exercises, that we are trying to better ourselves as a community and as a college," said Jenks.
"There are thousands of people that pass through this campus daily. So, you want to make sure, no matter what they're doing, where they're going, there is no obstacles in their way," said Janet Taylor, RVC’s Executive Director of Facilities and Operations.
By handling RVC's ins and outs, maintenance workers also know safety is a top priority.
"We've done, you know, multi-millions of dollars’ worth of construction and it's always, from a safety aspect, that's the number one question," said Taylor.
A key tool in RVC's emergency preparedness plan is the Alert System, which sends out messages to all students, faculty and staff in the event of any dangerous situation.