By Rachel Taylor, Editor-in-Chief
Although it is still unclear who exactly was responsible for the false MC Alert about an armed person last week, a little more information about the incident is now available.
According to Marcus Rosano, Montgomery College’s Media Relations Director, eight people currently have access to the MC Alert system. The number was slightly higher in the past.
Rosano said the false alert did not have to do with the MC Alert system being updated, meaning the information a professor provided to an Advocate reporter last week was incorrect. The MC Alert system is not and was not being updated.
Rosano also said there have been no false alerts in the past. The current MC Alert system was started in September 2017. No one is being fired due to the error, according to Rosano, although he could not discuss that further, citing that it would be a personnel issue.
On Tuesday this week, the MC community received an email from MC’s Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Shawn Harrison, addressing the false alert. Harrison apologized for the mistake.
The email also said “15 members of the public safety team participated in an enhanced MC Alert training Friday, February 9” and that a “monthly training schedule has been established to ensure that those with access to the system are kept up to date and remain proficient in the use of the system.”
Another matter mentioned in the email was an emergency training exercise scheduled to take place May 3 at the Rockville campus. Harrison also provided links to information about what to do in the event of an active shooter situation on campus.
James Ray, the Public Safety Manager for the Germantown campus, said that all Public Safety managers and shift supervisors have access to the MC Alert system, as well as some security officers. Additionally, some people outside of the Public Safety department have access, he said. Ray would not go into more detail on the matter and referred to the aforementioned email.
Last week, Marcus Rosano denied that he was directly responsible for the false MC Alert. According to the Montgomery College Directory, available online, the Safety and Security shift supervisors are Daniel Blumgart in Germantown and Luis Santiago in Rockville. There was no one listed for Takoma Park.
According to Ray, these shift supervisors are among those who have access to the MC Alert system. According to Rosano, there are eight people who currently have access. 15 people received training last Friday about the use of the MC Alert system.
However, although they have access to the system, this does not necessarily mean that one of the shift supervisors mentioned above was directly responsible for the false alert.
In light of yesterday’s school shooting in Florida, the importance of a reliable MC Alert system is emphasized. Despite last week’s error, the mistake was caught within a few minutes and more training has been and will be provided to prevent similar mistakes in the future.