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From left to right: GPC Public Safety Officer Eric Aguiar and Sgt. Carson L. Whatley participated in the operation that took place Thursday afternoon in response to a dangerous situation on Memorial Drive. Photo by Tosin Ogunnoiki.
From left to right: GPC Public Safety Officer Eric Aguiar and Sgt. Carson L. Whatley participated in the operation that took place Thursday afternoon in response to a dangerous situation on Memorial Drive. Photo by Tosin Ogunnoiki.

Locked up and locked down

From left to right: GPC Public Safety Officer Eric Aguiar and Sgt. Carson L. Whatley participated in the operation that took place Thursday afternoon in response to a dangerous situation on Memorial Drive. Photo by Tosin Ogunnoiki.
From left to right: GPC Public Safety Officer Eric Aguiar and Sgt. Carson L. Whatley participated in the operation that took place Thursday afternoon in response to a dangerous situation on Memorial Drive. Photo by Tosin Ogunnoiki.

By: Joseph Richardson

Clarkston Campus Lockdown stopped traffic and students for safety, according to GPC Public Safety

On Thursday, March 19, GPC’s Clarkston campus was peppered by Public Safety Officers who responded to a local emergency.

DeKalb County SWAT, DeKalb County Sheriff ’s Office and the U.S. Marshall’s Office were all involved in a movement to follow through on felony warrants.

These warrants were out for criminals who carried a reputation of being dangerous and heavily armed, according to GPC Public Safety.

In order to detain the criminals, law enforcement used various weapons, as well as dogs and flashbang grenades.

The GPC Public Safety Department wanted to make sure that GPC students were not harmed in any way from the arch criminals that rather die, than go to jail.

Due to the volatile nature of the situation and the danger present around the college, GPC Public Safety decided to lockdown the school for the safety of the students on the Clarkston campus.

Public Safety received notice from DeKalb County that major police activity will be present on Memorial Drive, encroaching the border of the Clarkston campus.

They kept the campus under lockdown until the criminals were apprehended, which took around 45 minutes.

Not only were the students affected from the lockdown, but so were the surrounding pedestrians.

Traffic was redirected to steer them clear from the police activity on Memorial Drive.

GPC Public Safety assures students that their main objective was to keep students safe.

Nobody on the campus was harmed, and police activity ceased.

With many students in disarray because of the lockdown situation, there was much fear and confusion.

Several students even contacted the Public Safety Department with negative feedback on how they reacted towards the situation in the vicinity.

According to the GPC Public Safety, they handled the situation in the most appropriate manner possible.

On the other side of the spectrum, certain students believed they were detained and held against their will by the brute force of Public Safety.

Many students also believe that the Public Safety handled the situation appropriately.

“I didn’t see any officers in sight, but I knew that they had us protected wherever they were,” said aspiring journalism major Taylor Dudley. “I feel safe at GPC.”

Students were also scared due to the lack of information they were provided with.

“I was in the library, and all of a sudden a library employee burst through the door and told us all to take refuge in the media spot,” said Dudley.

Not only were there plenty of frightened students, but the parents of the students were in fear as well.

With phone calls being distributed to students and parents alike, it caused a great uproar about the whole situation.

Although the lockdown was only for 45 minutes, GPC was heavily affected by the whole situation.

The lockdown was deemed necessary, but many students were affected by the lockdown in various ways such as a disturbance in many students’ core and extra-curricular activities.

“I didn’t like the lockdown because it messed up my schedule for the rest of the day,” said political science major Potee Robinson. “I had a French Club meeting and an African Students Association Club meeting, and they both got canceled.”

Although students were upset by their change in plans, everybody was elated to see that they were all kept safe and secure.

“I feel that the PSD handled the situation appropriately,” said Potee. “I heard that someone was in the area with a gun, and I believe that the PSD did a good job keeping everyone safe.”

The day after the lockdown there was a great deliberation at the Public Safety office to debrief on what they did well, and what can be improved.

The Public Safety Department believes they did their best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

With mixed opinions about the whole situation, one thing is concrete: the Clarkston campus stood safely to see March 20 and many more days to come.

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