Universities review policy after foiled terror plot

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A recently foiled terror plot targeting universities isn’t prompting Fairfield University to increase security, but public safety officials are reviewing their policies. They stress it’s everyone’s responsibility to report anything suspicious on campus.

“Unfortunately we live in a time and age right now where nothing seems shocking anymore, nothing surprises anyone anymore, and we take it personally cause it is an environment we are a part of,” said Frank Ficko, Associate Director of Public Safety at Fairfield University.

Safety and security are his top priorities.

“Policy is in place and reviewed it is all about preparation and reviewing the policies constantly,” Ficko said.

Day and night, 18 public safety officers patrol the campus. Campus isn’t as busy as it usually is due to summer break, but international students, athletes and summer camps all use the university daily.

“Having measures in place like CCTV cameras, code blue telephones, things of that nature, are important to college campuses,” said Ficko.

In 2002, 24-year-old Patrick Arbelo stormed a classroom at Fairfield University and said he had a bomb. He took the professor and 27 students hostage. The campus went on lockdown. Buildings and dorms were evacuated.

More than a decade later, parents and students say the latest terror plot targeting universities is unsettling.

“It is very concerning, as a parent you can’t help but think about if it were your child being affected,” said Karen Graham.

“There are incidents like anywhere else, but it feels like public safety is on top of it and they really care about students,” said Fairfield University senior Hattie Briggs.

A week-long public safety training academy will start on campus this weekend. Topics include bomb recognition and crisis prevention training for worst care scenarios.

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