Task Force Focuses on Ky. Campus Safety

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Whether it's a dorm fire or a campus crime, Kentucky colleges have emphasized the importance of school safety for years. But a state task force has issued a 24 page report claiming that campuses could be doing a lot more to protect their students.

"Actually. I feel very safe on campus," explained WKU student Jacqulene Garrett.

It's a sentiment felt by many Western Kentucky students, but the governor's college campus safety task force wants major improvements made to school security across the state.

"I don't know if it's really necessary because, from what I've seen in the past couple of weeks living here, it's been pretty safe," Jacqulene said.

"I don't feel threatened at all when I'm walking around, even when it's late at night and I have to go to MMTH to get a paper printed," WKU student Seth Peckham added.

The 15 member task force is led by Gail Minger, the mother of a Murray State student, who was killed in a 1998 dorm fire. Fire safety is an issue that's already being stressed on Western's campus in an effort to prevent events like this from happening.

"There's a fire drill every year at the beginning of the year to make sure the systems are working and everyone knows what to do," Seth explained.

But the new improvements wouldn't only protect students from dorm fires, they would also help prevent campus crime. The task force recommendations include better lighting, a campus monitoring system and door alarms. The additions would only support current efforts that Western officials say they are taking to keep students safe.

"I think the way that dorms are set up, y'know, the way you have to show a card to get in-- it's very safe and practical," Jacqulene said.

"It can't be a bad idea to try and make campus safer. I don't think the crime rate is that bad as it is, but I don't think there's any reason not to try something to make it even better," Seth added.

Earlier, we contacted officials from Western who say that the campus is well lit and several areas of the school are already under surveillance.

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