Public safety reacts to alleged threat on campus

By: Jessica Sierocki, co-editor-in-chief

UNIVERSITY CENTER – Wednesday, March 21, Delta College Public Safety sent out an emergency alert of a concerning drawing that a student found on a bathroom stall door in the E-wing men’s restroom. The drawing of a handgun had what appeared to be numbers spelling out the date March 22 (3/22/18).

The following Monday, March 26, another drawing was found on another men’s restroom stall door with the apparent date March 26 (3/22/18) written beneath.

Director of Public Safety Robert Batinkoff responded to the alleged threat on campus:

“I’m unaware of anything specific like this happening on campus before. It’s not particularly unusual in the grand scheme of things to see something like that drawn on a bathroom stall door, but it is unusual for Delta, and that’s a good thing. It’s a different environment at Delta – it’s a clean and quiet campus.

“People are a lot more on edge now about things like this, and understandably so. A lot of high-profile incidents have happened that cause people to be concerned.”

As soon as a student brought the attention of the image to campus police, Batinkoff shared the information with the administration and started to ascertain the drawing’s meaning. Two agencies were contacted, including the Michigan Intelligence Operation Center, which monitors threats on a constant basis at college’s critical infrastructure.

“We sent the image to MIOC and asked that they take a look and see if there were any pre-event indicators, anything that has happened before that would tell us if the event was coming. They came back and told us that they didn’t see any indication of a credible threat based on the image,” says Batinkoff.  

Public Safety also contacted the FBI through the campus liaison agent program, which connects a special field agent with colleges and universities in an area.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation databases looked at the image, and they came back stating they didn’t see anything that showed a credible threat of violence.

“It’s important to note that while the drawing is concerning, it’s not a direct threat. Nobody has ever said that they were going to commit an act of violence at Delta. It obviously came up on our radar as something to be concerned about, but it wasn’t a credible threat,” says Batinkoff.

Battinkoff was confident in his decision to keep the campuses open and in operation the day after the drawing was found:

“In threat assessment, we have to deal with probabilities, not possibilities. Sometimes when people panic they think of possibilities. We can’t change the way we live our lives based on possibilities because we would be immobilized.

“I think if we closed campus on that level of threat where there’s only a possibility, not probability, of something happening, we’ll never open campus again. I never felt like anyone was in danger coming here.”

Delta’s current policy does not allow dangerous weapons – including legally purchased, concealed weapons  – in classrooms or on campus. Battinkoff and his team will continue to monitor all alleged threats facing Delta students.

“I know that this stuff can be scary, but you just have to trust that if there’s a seriously threat to our students, we’re going to address it,” says Batinkoff. “We’re not going to take chances on our students but we have to be able to function.”

There are currently active proposals to increase security and technology around campus including emergency message boards inside and outside the building to alert students on emergency situations. Installing cameras is also an integration to new security measures.

All proposals include the satellite centers as well as main campus. Approval is still needed for the proposals, and there is no set date for installments.

In light of the current events on campus, a secure mode drill will take place on main campus April 16 around 10:05 a.m. The drill will be an indicator on how security on Delta’s campus may be improved.

“It’s for us to simulate a threat outside of campus. We’re going to secure all of our exterior doors, we’re not going to let anyone in the campus for an hour while continuing normal operations inside the building,” says Batinkoff.

Students also have the option to get emergency alert text messages that will send out information about potential threats on Delta’s campuses as well as school delays and closings. To sign up for the text message alert systems, students can text DELTAMG to 888777.

For any further questions or concerns, contact Delta College Public Safety at 989-686-9113 or contact Batinkoff at [email protected]

Leave a Comment

*