District’s emergency notification system keeps campus informed about hostage incident

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Alerts guided students, faculty and staff away from roadblocks, parking lot closures.

By Giselle Guadron

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The hostage situation that happened this morning near French Place and San Pedro Avenue is an example of why students should update their contact information in ACES.

Alamo Colleges police issued an alert at 7:53 a.m., noting the police presence, the blocking of San Pedro and parking lot closures.

It saved some students the irritation of finding out as they approached the campus.

Parking Lot 3 attendant Charles Hodges’s supervisor told him about the situation about 6:48 a.m. With police evacuating parking Lot 2, Hodges observed, “It’s been under control and it’s been steady.”

Down the street at Longwith Radio, Television and Film Building, academic unit assistant Judy Kabo said she received the first email alert at 7:32 a.m. Kabo was the only one in the office so she locked herself in.

“I used a radio scanner and that’s how I knew what was going on, and I’m keeping up with Facebook and Twitter,” she said.

Next door at the early childhood studies center, Director Claudia Gonzalez was aware of the situation.

“We called campus police to see how the situation would affect the center,” Gonzalez said. She also was walking around inside the building, talking with parents dropping off their children.

“Some parents were aware and asking what the situation is, and letting parents who were not aware know what was going on,” Gonzalez said. “Some parents were calling before and taking personal precautions to wait to bring a child.”

Outside Moody Learning Center, public administration sophomore Jami Keeton said she received the Alamo Colleges emergency alert at 7:53 a.m. Since her class was not until 9 a.m., she “bypassed San Pedro as much as I could.”

Accounting sophomore Jenna Keeton said she also received the alert.

“I was lucky I was still at home,” she said.

Biology freshmen Sergio Vargas and Valerie Alvarez were by the tennis courts.

Vargas recalled, “I was driving down San Pedro around 7:40 a.m. when I saw the roadblock and was told to turn.”

Alvarez said she heard helicopters and saw news vans in the area. “I did not receive a phone call, but did get an email,” Alvarez said.

With parking Lots 1 and 2 closed, Vargas and Alvarez parked behind Moody.

“It was about three-fourths filled up,” Vargas said. “You did see more cars than usual and it was crowded up on Main (Avenue).”

Around campus, many students were not aware of the situation. Some, appearing confused and upset, were observed entering the detour on San Pedro.

To sign up for emergency alerts, log on to the home page in ACES and look for “Emergency Notification System.”

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