Briefing with Campus Police has zero students in attendance


Perla Lara

Computer engineering major Jaqueline Alejos locking her bicycle using two locks. She recommends using two locks that are not easy to cut with wire cutters like a motorcycle type lock with a thick metal chain and a ‘U’ type lock. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Perla Lara

An informal meeting to speak about campus safety with students was what the Briefing with Campus Police was set up to be, however there were no students in attendance.

The meeting that was held on Thursday, Sept. 29 and Cerritos College Police Captain Hans Strand had several key topics that he wanted the students at Cerritos College to be aware of, the topics ranged from an increase in cellphone thefts, bicycle thefts, what to do in an active shooter scenario, and transgender students and the use of bathrooms.

With only Talon Marks in the audience, Strand thought the briefing was still worth doing and proceeded to explain the topics he had prepared for the meeting.

He said that students should be more aware of their things, leaving them alone even for a brief second can result in theft.

“Most of the thefts occurring are cellphones and bicycles, we try to inform our students if you are in the library and charging your cellphone at a desk if you are going to walk away to go to the student staff to get some information take your cellphone and purse with you […] that’s a predominant issue that we [campus police] have.”

He also mentioned there have been a few reports of cellphone thefts in the food court and in bathrooms because students forget to take their cellphones with them for a second and when they return their cellphones are gone.

Regarding bicycles he said, “Most of the time people spend a lot of money on bicycles but they buy a real cheap lock and we have people coming around with backpacks and bolt-cutters and they’ll just snip that wire and take off with the bicycle. […]

“Use a better ‘U’ type lock to reinforce, [thieves] can’t use bolt-cutter to cut.”

Strand also stressed if students have a crime to report or need a safety escort to their car the fastest way to contact campus police is not dialing 911 but to dial the campus police direct number (562) 402-3674.

He recommended saving the number as a speed dial option on your phone, and in case the number gets dialed by accident the police dispatch will be understanding.

The call boxes set up inside buildings and the new blue towers are also direct lines to campus police.

However, for non-emergency calls, students can call the Cerritos College number (562) 860-2451 ext. 2325.

Another key topic Strand wanted to talk about with students was how to respond to an active shooter scenario.

He said there are three responses to active shooters:

  • First response run, if you hear the shooting or the yelling the first reaction should be to get out of there if you can do it safely. Whenever you are in a classroom or any building be aware of where the exits are in case one exit is blocked know where a second exit is. Leave your belongings behind once the situation is under control you can go back in to get them. “Just get out of there safely.”

An important point to know when exiting the building where there’s an active shooter, exit without anything in your hands and with your hands extended in front of you. “You don’t want the police officers thinking of you as a threat.”

  • Second response if you cannot run, hide, “Lock the doors from the inside so the perpetrator cannot enter.” Stay out of view from windows move furniture in front of the door if you cannot lock it. Set your phones to silent so they don’t alert the perpetrator of your location.
  • Third response if you cannot run, or hide, fight. “Just don’t give up, that’s only if your life is in imminent danger if the suspect [perpetrator] is inside the room [with you] use whatever means possible to [hit them] if you have a fire extinguisher or a computer or something hit them over the head and render him incapable if you can. Just don’t surrender.

The campus police website has a video demonstrating the three responses.

When reporting an active shooter there are also three things that the police would like to know

  • The location of the shooter
  • The number of shooters
  • The description of the shooters “We want to know who these people are”
  • The number and types of weapons being held “If the person has a knife, or shot gun, or riffle, or hand gun it makes a difference.”
  • The location of injured or potential victims “That way we can send a rescue person.”

One more piece of information that Strand wanted to share with students was from the US Department of Education and justice. It stated that transgendered students have a right to use the restrooms of their choice without being asked any questions by other students.

The information that Strand gave can be seen as overwhelming and common sense but knowing the information can help you in an emergency situation or help prevent theft.

Computer engineering major Jaqueline Alejos learned about the importance of a sturdy lock on her bicycle after her bicycle was stolen a few blocks away from campus.

She said, “I’ve gotten my bike stolen once not here a couple blocks away and I had a really bad [experience] I had the basic 99 cent store lock. I have the motorcycle lock now.”

She also recommends students get metal chains not the “plastic with the little metal that you can cut through with any wire cutter, whenever I see that bike lock I always feel bad I wish I could give it my own lock because I know it sucks to get their bike stolen, especially if you are trying to use it to get to school.

“That’s my only form of transportation […] definitely try to invest in a really good sturdy bike lock and maybe try two that’s what I do.”

Alejos uses the ‘U’ type lock that Strand recommended and a thick metal chain motorcycle lock.

Strand also stated that campus police is available to help students 24 hours a day all days of the year and they work closely with both Cerritos and Norwalk Sheriff Department.