State Emergency Management Director Says UTHSC Safety Measures Impressive

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Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Patrick Sheehan, left, got a look at the extensive wall of monitors in UTHSC’s new Emergency Operations Center with Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Brown, center. (Photos by Sally Badoud/UTHSC)

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Patrick Sheehan Wednesday said he is very impressed with the security measures that have been instituted at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to keep the campus community safe.

His remarks came during a tour of the UTHSC campus led by Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE. Sheehan is visiting campuses throughout the UT System to become familiar with policies and procedures in place across the state to respond to emergency situations. He said making connections and building relationships on the campuses in advance is key to dealing with situations that may arise.

“I am impressed with the extent Dr. Brown and his team have gone to keep the campus safe,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan’s visit to campus is part of a statewide tour of campuses in the UT System.

Though Sheehan’s visit to UTHSC had been planned for months, it came a day after two people were killed and four injured in a shooting on the University of North Carolina-Charlotte campus.

Such tragedies reinforce the necessity of having the best security measures in place in a campus setting, Dr. Brown said, while he showed Sheehan UTHSC’s new Emergency Operations Center. The center in the basement of the General Education Building is equipped with a bank of monitors to cover the entire campus.

In addition to the center, the campus is undergoing major safety and security improvements, including more than 2,000 cameras on site and in the surrounding area, upgraded keyless and access-controlled locks, and automatic lockdown capabilities to meet an active threat.

The UTHSC Campus Police force has grown and training has increased, under the direction of Chief Anthony Berryhill. The department is also working closely with the Memphis Police Department to secure the campus and the Memphis Medical District.

UTHSC is ranked Number 9 among 490 colleges on the just-released list of the 2019 Safest Campuses in America, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security.