Safety Week aims to educate students

In collaboration with Sonoma State University, Police Services is hosting a campus-wide Safety Week through the remainder of this week. Each day will feature a variety of safety themes, all with the intention of educating Sonoma State students on what to do in times of danger.

Sonoma State Police Officer Eric Wilde spoke of the purpose of the first Safety Week on campus and reinforced the priority of keeping students’ safe.

“We want all students [and everyone else on our campus] to feel safe to be here.  Safety Week has many goals but the biggest one is to show all that we have to offer both on and off campus,” said Wilde. 

Wilde also emphasized how Police Services is available as a resource for students seeking information on how to be safe and prepared in times of tragedy.

“I hope it will show that SSU Police and Safety Services, as well as other community partners, are here and available to answer questions,” said Wilde Sometimes I feel people just don’t want to ask anything thinking it is not important.  All questions are welcome and we are here to answer questions.”

On Monday, Police Chief Nathan Johnson hosted a lecture in the Alexander Valley room of the Student Center, focused on how to handle situations involving an active shooter. Johnson also discussed how to mentally and emotionally prepare for times of tragedy and situations involving an active shooter. Also in attendance at this lecture were the Sonoma County Sheriffs Department, Rohnert Park Public Safety, Rancho Adobe Fire Department and American Medical Response Ambulance.

Wilde also spoke of how other California State University campuses have had similar events like this year’s Safety Week at SSU. 

“When Chief Johnson returned as our chief of police, he had mentioned that CSU East Bay had done a Safety Week and asked me to look into it.  I then found a lot of departments do similar events for their perspective community or campus they serve,” said Wilde.

Today, the campus was exposed to the repercussions of drunk driving with the display of a car that was wrecked by a DUI accident in honor of Safety Week. The wrecked car served as a symbolic reminder of how driving impaired can have a life-altering impact.  Sonoma State police officer Karl Mortenson encourages Sonoma State students to ‘’party smart” to avoid incident of tragedy when it comes to drinking and driving. 

On Wednesday, Sonoma State will host a series of events regarding sexual assault and self-defense awareness, which coincides with the recent passage of the ‘Yes Means Yes’ bill singed by Governor Jerry Brown last month that aims to improve the way sexual assault is handled on college campuses.  

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the Recreation Center will host a self-defense class aimed at teaching students the essentials when it comes to self-protection. There will also be a sexual assault panel discussion at 5 p.m. in Ballroom B of the Student Center with representatives from Police Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Verity as well as Sonoma County’s District Attorney’s Office. These representatives will be there to educate and discuss the affects sexual assault has on college campuses. They will also discuss what can be done to prevent incidents of sexual assault by educating and increasing students’ awareness.  

On Thursday, the final day of Safety Week, the campus will welcome the Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter HENRY-1 in recognition of emergency preparedness and how to handle an earthquake. At 10:16 a.m. on Thursday, students are encouraged to participate in the National Shakeout by dropping, covering and holding on.

Those looking for further information on safety precautions, how to handle times of tragedy or on Sonoma State’s Safety Week in general are encouraged to contact Sonoma State Police Services or Counseling and Psychological Services.