Police Training Exercise Causes Confusion at Ohio State Newark

Last week, a communication error on the campus of Ohio State University at Newark in Newark, Ohio, led to a student and a research staff member seeing guns pointed in their direction—unaware that they were in the middle of a scheduled police training exercise and that the weapons were fake.

The exercise was part of a Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) police academy training class that was practicing maneuvers inside the campus’ Adena Hall. Officials normally send a university-wide notification of such events in advance. However, even though COTC had informed campus safety officials that they would be running the drill, the OSU-Newark campus safety and security office did not widely disseminate that information to the larger community, according to the Newark Advocate.

According to COTC President John Berry, signs about the training were posted in the vicinity, but the campus at large was not informed. COTC assistant professor of law enforcement Jeff Sowards confirmed that OSU campus safety had been informed of the exercise.

“Anytime they do this, we always inform all of the campus community,” Berry said. “Unfortunately, this time it didn’t happen. It was an administrative glitch I’m assured will never happen again.”

The COTC police academy was using the facility to practice maneuvering through buildings. OSU’s spring-semester final exams took place from April 26–30, meaning campus was largely deserted by the time the COTC final exams took place between April 29 and last Wednesday. Adena Hall is a recreation facility open to the public.

“I think years ago, there was something like this, and COTC took steps to put in protocols,” said OSU-Newark Dean/Director Bill MacDonald. “John [Berry], in my view, wants to do everything to ensure it doesn’t happen again and make changes to the protocol.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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