Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

By Gary Ellis

Last week, Friday, Jan 15th, with Covid-19 safety measures still in full effect on the Mount Vernon Skagit Valley College (SVC) campus, it begs to question whether security efficiency is affected?  With mostly remote operations and a lack of pedestrian traffic, are the security operations on campus making it safer, and is it running smoother than normal? One would most likely assume, with fewer people on campus, fewer security incidents would occur. According to SVC’s Director of Security and Emergency Management, Scott Snider, Covid-19 operations present different security challenges. 

With SVC having a solid grasp and foundational outline for their overall security procedures, things run pretty smoothly in day-to-day normal operations. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some challenges are presented to the security personnel and their daily routines. Although some staff members are still on campus, students must make appointments. During Skagit Valley College’s on-going remote operations, students and faculty must connect via email, zoom, or phone. In order to ensure the safety of faculty and students, certain Covid-19 guidelines must be adhered to. Remote operations have allowed a vast amount of staff to work from home, which causes less pedestrian traffic resulting in a decline in security incidents. Of course, who wouldn’t think that’s a great thing? In actuality, per Snider, “fewer people, takes away from the force multiplier.”

Snider explained that there are multiple layers of security that work to enhance overall security operations. As security can’t always be everywhere at one time, they sometimes rely on things such as a “force multiplier.” In this case, everyday pedestrian traffic acts as “sensors” to report any security incidents they may encounter while on campus. Less foot traffic put’s a strain on helpful reporting of incidents witnessed by SVC campus goers. As one multiplier is hindered, others must pick up the slack to maintain security operations’ efficiency. This also makes SVC’s physical security teamwork even harder and be ever vigilant in their daily duties. With SVC’s 24/7 security operations, as security never sleeps, this can cause unneeded stress to the security team if personnel manning issues occur in the department. This is a small example and shows the importance of how multiple layers of security intertwine and foster cohesion between the different layers. SVC’s college campus is quite large overall, and security must conduct internal and external foot patrols. Having the pedestrian traffic is very helpful when it comes to helping to report things, such as medical incidents, crimes, parking issues, etc. 

No doubt, losing a “force multiplier” makes security more challenging for the SVC security team, but less foot traffic seems to offset the hindrance. Security is a multi-layered approach that uses a system of back-ups and intertwining procedures to encompass all physical security facets. There are also a few things the security team itself can adjust internally to help with the offset. The SVC security team can choose to increase external and internal foot patrols. CCTV technologies can be implemented and bolstered to cover vast areas of the campus that are less visible. A simple email to faculty to request their participation, helping to report any security incidents while Covid-19 operations are in full-effect.  As one large SVC community, we can all help to make our SVC educational experience great! 

Overall, it’s great for students and faculty members to be assured that security is, in fact, running quite efficiently. Having fewer incidents reported makes for a safer SVC experience when visiting the campus. SVC campus goers can assist by keeping their eyes open and having situational awareness while on campus. SVC’s dedicated and vigilant security personnel ensure efficiency and operational procedures provide piece-of-mind to any who may visit campus. If possible, while on campus, say hi to the Security personnel and thank them for their hard work and for helping to maintain an excellent atmosphere for the SVC community.