Lockdown: Why did SWOSUalert reach students 13 minutes too late?
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
By Johannes Becht
When it comes to shootings, every second counts. For the police who needs to be at the scene as soon as possible, but also for civilians who need to make sure they're safe.
On Tuesday, Oct 27, the SWOSU campus in Weatherford went into a 40-minutes lockdown after a shooting at Campus North Apartments. At 5:36, students who had signed up for the alert received a text message stating "active shooter lock campus at once active shooter Campus North."
Problem: The Weatherford Police Department and SWOSU Police responded to the shooting 13 minutes earlier - at 5:23 p.m., according to the PD's Facebook page.
Why were SWOSU students warned 13 minutes later?
"When incidents happen near campus, SWOSU police issue a lockdown as a precaution," Brian Adler, Vice President of Public Relations & Marketing, says. Responsible for the SWOSUalert is SWOSU Police Chief Kendra Brown.
"I was alerted to the situation by a responding officer," Brown says. "I called our administrative assistant to put out the lockdown asap. The information was sent to be in the notification in less than a minute of when I received the information."
So why the delays? Brown: "Any delays could be caused by cell service and internet, depending on how the notification was received. In addition, the weather might have played a role in the delay."
As a matter of fact, individual students received the alarm earlier than the vast majority of the students. It remains unclear, however, why SWOSU PD relied solely on the alert system and did not, for example, contact employees directly to make sure a lockdown is conducted, especially in high-traffic areas such as the Student Union. Maybe an idea for the future...