A rear-view mirror under repair was mistaken for handgun in the parking garage last Thursday.
Around 12:30 p.m., a female student reported a handgun sighting on the first level of the east side of the parking garage to Public Safety. “It’s easy for someone to imagine a handgun, especially with all of the gun violence going on,” said Dave Powell, criminal justice student.
Working with three North Greenbush Police Department officers, Public Safety held an investigation of the area until about 1 p.m.. “It’s good that they’re being cautious about it,” said Alexandra Rojas, dental hygiene student, about Public Safety’s response to the situation. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The person repairing their vehicle was a non-student, who was at Hudson Valley for an appointment at the dental hygiene clinic. No weapons were found in the area. “We searched [his car] and found that there was no gun or anything like that, so we were satisfied,” said Fred Aliberti, director of Public Safety.
“It was a good intention call from the person who thought that the person maybe had a gun in their hand, which they didn’t,” said North Greenbush Police Department Chief Robert Durivage. He said that the subject in his car cooperated with Public Safety and police.
“There have been a lot of cases of mass shootings on campuses, so thank god it wasn’t an actual gun,” said Anthony Ramos, business administration student, who parks in the parking garage regularly. This incident was the first reported firearm sighting on campus since October, when Jordan Laurie, 27, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon after leaving a .22 caliber Mossberg rifle in the backseat of his car, parked in the H Lot.
Max Cadman, nursing student, first heard about this incident over Yik Yak. “The only thing I saw was ‘there are 12 cops in the parking garage’ and I didn’t know if it was true,” said Cadman. There were only three officers on the scene according to Public Safety and the North Greenbush Police Department.
Over four hours after the Thursday incident, a mass email was sent out to all students. Madison Davis, engineering science student, believes the college’s mass email was unnecessary in the wake of recent mass shootings, such as the Umpqua Community College shooting in October. “There are actually dangerous things going on now so you shouldn’t just throw the words ‘handgun’, ‘danger’ and ‘college’ around,” she said.
Nora Yousef, human services student, considers the college’s mass emails difficult to reach all students in situations like last Thursday’s incident. She believes a text alert system would be more beneficial for all students. “People check texts more than email,” said Yousef.
Over recent months, the college’s emergency preparedness committee has been in the process of exploring text alert systems communications and software vendors. “We’re planning on moving forward with some sort of crisis communication system,” said Dennis Kennedy, director of communications and marketing. He mentioned that a new text alert system would not be mandatory for students.