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Baylor, MCC and TSTC Update Security Plans in Light of Recent Bomb Threats | Education

Following bomb threats against colleges in Texas in July, Baylor University’s top public safety official, along with police chiefs from Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College, said threat assessments for their campuses were up to date and that plans had been revised to address recent threats and active attacks.

“We have a monthly threat assessment meeting with partners from all parts of Baylor University,” said Mark Childers, associate vice president of public safety at Baylor.

Childers and members of his public safety team also meet regularly with the Waco Police Department and even the FBI to review internal and external threats and compare the most recent threats to their plans to counter them. He said his leaders and team are constantly updating their procedures.

“We have a strong forward lean,” Childers said. “We come to work every day ready for the unknown.”

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Texas State Technical College Police Chief Eduardo Patiño, who is responsible for criminal investigations and public safety at the TSTC’s 10 campuses, acknowledged the bomb threats and said his team has updated its plans in response.

Threats to colleges in a handful of other Texas cities last month prompted evacuations but were quickly dismissed as hoaxes.

Patiño said he encourages all of his officers on all campuses to form partnerships with local and county police departments around them. He said his officers are strategic and intentional in building relationships with surrounding agencies.

“Whenever the local agency offers training, especially for active attacks, I encourage my officers to attend,” Patiño said. “We make sure our neighboring agencies know our plans.”

The active attack on May 24 in Uvalde is also not far from the minds of college public safety officials.

“A couple of officers from a nearby agency who came to MCC for ALERRT training the day of the Uvalde attack, had relatives killed in Uvalde,” MCC Police Chief Clayton Williams said.

On the day of the Uvalde attack, officials from Baylor and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office were at MCC to provide advanced rapid response law enforcement training on how to counter active attacks on their officers and other nearby police departments.

Williams also said MCC regularly updates threat assessments and response plans.

Most recently, on August 11, Baylor University’s Department of Public Safety conducted a second joint active threat training exercise.

“We found communication issues that were easily resolvable,” Childers said of what this exercise taught her staff and those of other participating agencies.

Partners in the effort included the Waco Fire Department, American Medical Response, Air Evac, AirLift, Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center and other university, city of Waco and McLennan County partners.

This exercise was a continuation of the May exercise, Childers said. This involved tactical movements to and from the Ferrell Center, as well as loading and transporting people by ambulance to medical support helicopters for evacuation to Hillcrest. The purpose of the exercise is to expedite the movement of resources during a critical emergency and ultimately save lives.

The three institutions also have the ability to lock down all rooms and buildings as well as multiple methods of communication with students, faculty and staff. Each institution also has several ways for their communities to report suspicious activity or threats.