At Wallace State Community College, the employees within the area of public safety, including the WSCC Police Department on campus, work to help you maintain your personal safety by providing law enforcement, environmental safety, security, emergency preparedness, and educational programming services. While WSCC can never guarantee that accidents and criminal activity will not occur, we make every effort to ensure that students, employees and visitors to campus enjoy a safe learning environment.
Remember! Personal safety starts with you. Protect yourself by becoming informed and using good judgment. Take the first step toward protecting yourself by familiarizing yourself with safety procedures and services detailed in this guide. Remember: Always use good judgment, and donʼt hesitate to contact the WSCC Police Department or the Sheriffʼs Office when you need help or more information about our services.
Run. Hide. Fight.
The following campus and area resources are also available to you:
WSCC Police Department, Campus Office
WSCC Police Department, Officer On Duty
Sheriffʼs Department, Dispatch Office
Hanceville Police Department
Mental Healthcare of Cullman
Heads Up! Prevention Services
Vice President for Students Office
Cullman County Victim Services Office
Hanceville Fire Department
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Wallace State has a comprehensive emergency plan in place to deal with crises that may occur on campus. Campus safety employees have gone through training regarding emergency situations and participate in training exercises. The Cullman County Sheriffʼs Department, the Hanceville Police Department, and the Hanceville Fire Department, respond to campus emergencies as needed.
The College is prepared to notify students, faculty and staff of emergencies through a variety of methods:
- Phone calls and voice mail
- Text messaging
- Web site
- Students and community members should tune to local radio and television stations for additional information that would assist them.
- Students and employees should register their contact information with the Lion Alert Notification System accessible through the myWallaceState link on the Wallace State web site.
If someone on campus needs emergency medical care, call 911. Usually, an officer will be the first emergency official to arrive. Additionally, a local ambulance service and paramedics from the local fire department will respond.
When you call 911, remember:
- The victim should not be moved, except to be removed from life-threatening conditions.
- Someone should stay with the victim until help arrives.
- Give complete directions to the victimʼs location.
- Accurately describe what happened.
- Stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
- Guide emergency officials to the victim.
- Stay out of the way, and keep others out of the way of emergency officials. Before you leave the scene, check with a police officer to see if further information is needed.
In the event of a fire on or off campus, sound the nearest fire alarm in the building. Exit the building, then call 911. Tell the communications operator your name and address, and the location and extent of the fire. If you know of any people with disabilities in the building, tell the communications officer about them.
If you think itʼs possible, confine the fire by closing nearby windows and doors, but never linger in a building in which smoke or fumes threaten to overcome you. Exit the building quickly and calmly. Do not use elevators, but follow the exit signs to the closest fire exit. When possible, follow the posted evacuation route.
Meet emergency officials outside the building and inform them of the location of the fire. Remain outside at a safe distance, and keep others away from the building and from emergency vehicles. In all cases, follow the instructions of fire and police personnel on the scene.
Common sense helps in preventing fires; never smoke in bed or leave burning candles unattended. Note: Cooking devices, candles, and smoking are not permitted in campus dorms.
If you receive a threat, or know of a threat, that could affect the wellbeing or safety of the College community, contact 911 immediately or the WSCC Police Department at (256) 352-8000. Provide as much information about the situation as possible. The WSCC Police Department will respond to, analyze, and evaluate the situation to determine the next course of action.
Lost and Found:
WSCC Campus Police provides a Lost and Found service for the College. Found property may be turned in at the WSCC Campus Police Department so that it may be returned to the proper owner. Students may also turn property in to a faculty or staff member who will then turn it over to a campus police officer. If you need to report property that is lost or missing, please complete a Lost Property Report Form and turn the completed form into the WSCC Campus Police Department or you may complete a report at the WSCC Campus Police Department. Please be detailed in describing the item you have lost so we can recognize your keys, for example, from the 10 other sets of keys turned in to us. Details that are helpful include: brand name, color, size, shape, model number, quantity, material (leather, plastic, fabric, metal, etc.), size, special features, tags or labels, etc.
Claiming Lost Items:
- Valid photo ID required- Property will not be released to anyone without an ID. A valid ID card or other photo ID (State ID card, WSCC ID, Driver’s License, official Passport) is required to claim property.
- Items not accepted- Items that present a sanitation risk (soiled) are discarded. Food and drink containers are usually discarded.
- Unclaimed or abandoned items are maintained for 60 days before disposal. After 60 days, the found property is either donated or destroyed.
- If unclaimed items include cash, it will be deposited into the WSCC Encouraging Students Fund after 60 days.
Personal Safety on Campus
Security and Access to Campus Facilities:
Academic and administrative facilities are locked after their business hours. Staff with access to buildings after hours must lock doors behind them after they enter and are encouraged to follow all personal safety precautions.
If you are alone at night in a campus building, be sure a friend knows where you are and when youʼll return home. (If you donʼt leave on schedule, remember to let your friend know.) Never prop open a secured door to a building or residence hall. If you see a propped door, close it. In the residence halls, donʼt permit anyone other than your guest to enter the lobby. If you see an unescorted male in a womenʼs residence hall, tell the Dorm Director, RA, or notify Campus Security immediately.
Most elevators on campus have emergency lines that operate as emergency phones. Push the red button marked “Emergency” during switchboard hours and a communications operator will answer.
Enter the numbers of all local law enforcement agencies at the top of your cell phone directory. (For a listing, see above.) Place the Sheriffʼs Department number, (256) 734-0342, on your speed dial. Remember, dialing 911 from your cellular phone will connect you to the local 911 operator.
The College works to ensure that indoor and outdoor lighting on campus contributes to safety. If you see an outdoor light that isnʼt working, call Physical Plant Office at (256) 352-8060 and give the information to the secretary or leave the information on voicemail.
Should Wallace State become aware of a situation that poses an imminent, ongoing threat to the campus community, that information will be disseminated to students in the form of an advisory, disseminated in a variety of manners, including on message boards, by email, texts alerts, and posted on our web site at wallacestate.edu.
Weapons Policy On Campus
Use, possession, or distribution of firearms, knives, weapons, ammunition, fireworks, or any type of explosive or incendiary device or material is prohibited. Items perceived as weapons are also prohibited. Only duly constituted law enforcement officers on duty may possess firearms on campus.
The Alabama criminal code defines stalking as “a person who intentionally and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat, either expressed or implied, with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm.” If you believe you are a victim of stalking, contact Campus Security or the Sheriffʼs Department.
Dating and Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can exist in several forms: emotional, physical, and sexual. If you are involved in an abusive relationship, remember that no one deserves to be abused or threatened, and in time the violence may get worse. Sometimes the best way to the abuser is to have the person arrested. After an arrest the judicial system can order the individual to seek help in dealing with their problem. If you are involved in a violent relationship, call Campus Security or one of the resources listed.
At all times, Wallace State students must carry a valid student I.D. and parking hangtag. These are available through the Enrollment Management Office.
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on campus. Furthermore, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to consume or be in possession of any type of alcoholic beverage. Campus Security and local law enforcement maintain a strong position with regard to alcohol on campus, underage drinking, and driving under the influence. Even if youʼre off campus and just holding the alcoholic drink for a friend and youʼre under 21 you may get a citation or be arrested. If you choose to drink alcohol off campus, drink responsibly. Avoid consuming alcohol to the point where you are a danger to yourself or others and canʼt make good decisions about your safety. Increased alcohol consumption has been linked to sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual assault.
Possession of prescription medication, without a prescription, is a crime. You risk serious, possibly long-term side effects by taking prescription stimulants for staying awake, even if itʼs for studying.
Combining drugs, including alcohol and prescription drugs, is often very dangerous. Breathing can stop, the heart can stop, and death can occur. For information about the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, contact the Heads Up! office on campus at (256) 352-8021.
Stresses of classes, moving away from home, forming new relationships, and worrying about the future can lead you to feel like you just canʼt cope any longer. Sometimes, these feelings of being overwhelmed disappear after a few days. If they donʼt, it may be time to seek professional help. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, contact Mental Healthcare of Cullman at (256) 734-4688.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the Heads Up! office located in the Student Center provides completely confidential education, prevention and counseling services related to addiction. Call (256) 352- 8021.
Many times police officers respond to conflicts between individuals or groups. When these situations result in physical injury to one or more parties, a close review of the situation has shown that the original disagreement, in most cases, could have been avoided if one or more of the parties had used better judgment along with suggested resolution techniques. By identifying the reason a person is upset, many times the situation can be resolved prior to it escalating to violence. Alcohol consumption has been shown to play a major role in the probability of any situation turning more adversarial. Remember these important tips:
- At the first opportunity, call Campus Security at (256) 352-8080.
- Project calmness: move and speak slowly, quietly, and confidently.
- Be an empathetic listener: encourage the other party to tell you what they believe the problem is and listen patiently.
- If unreasonable behavior persists, calmly describe the consequences of violent behavior.
- At the first opportunity, disengage from the situation and wait for the police.
Once property is damaged or someone is hurt, itʼs too late to wish YOU had done the right thing. THINK BEFORE YOU ACT!
(Material sources for conflict resolution: Verbal Judo by George Thompson, Ph.D. and How to Deal with Upset People by Pennie Myers and Don Nance)
Safety on the Road and in Public Places
- Upon parking your car, lock it with the windows up. At night, park as close as possible to lights and activity. When returning to your car, get a friend to go with you if possible. Always check the back seat (including the floor) before entering your vehicle.
- When driving, donʼt stop for hitchhikers or broken-down vehicles. To help a stranded driver, use a phone and notify police. If you think you are being followed by a person in another vehicle, or being watched, drive to a well-lit, busy public place and call the police. When you arrive home, have your keys in hand as you leave the car.
- Make sure your car stays in good running condition, and you have enough gas. If you have car trouble, raise the hood or tie a handkerchief to the door handle to signal for help. Stay in the locked car, keeping the windows up. If someone stops to help, lower the window one inch and ask the person to call the police or an auto club.
- If your car has a vanity license plate, be sure it doesnʼt give a criminal useful information about you, such as your name or nickname.
Safety At Home
Assaults can occur at your residence. Whether you live on campus or off, practice prevention.
- When you go in, close and lock the door immediately. Use dead bolts and keep windows locked when not in use.
- Be smart about keys. Donʼt leave them outside or in hiding places. Donʼt lend them to anyone. If you lose your keys, change your locks. Have locks changed before you move in to a new residence.
- Get to know your neighbors and which ones you can trust in an emergency.
- Never open your door to strangers. Require proper identification from utility and repair people. If a stranger asks to use your phone, keep your door locked and offer to place the call yourself. If the situation seems suspicious, call police immediately. Be able to describe the person when you report the incident to police.
- Women who live alone or with other women should consider using unlisted phone numbers and not list their addresses in the phone book. Donʼt reveal to a caller that you are alone, and donʼt give your name or phone number to a wrong-number caller. Don't leave your name on your answering machine message. Agree with your roommates that none of you will give the following information to an unknown caller:
- Who is home
- Who is out
- When someone will return
- In residence halls, follow all security regulations and tell your Dorm Director about unauthorized or suspicious persons.
- Make sure all entrances are well lit.
- If you use a coin-operated laundry, beware of isolated conditions. Go with a friend.
- When walking, avoid alleys, vacant lots, and shortcuts. Listen for footsteps and voices. Notice cars that pass you more than once or pull up beside you. If someone follows you, go to a public building. If someone follows you on campus, call Campus Security or 911, and describe the vehicle and person to the communications operator.
Reducing Your Risk of Acquaintance Sexual Assaults:
Sexual assault is an act of violence. Many believe that sexual assault is a crime committed by strangers in dark alleys, but, most sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances or even dates. While it is never your fault if you are assaulted, there are some things you can do to decrease your chances of becoming a victim:
- Never accept a date from someone you donʼt know, especially one that would involve being alone with the person.
- Avoid going to unfamiliar surroundings with someone you donʼt know very well.
Never be overconfident when it comes to your safety. Taking away the opportunity for sexual assault is a big part of protecting yourself. Staying sober is one of your best defenses.
When alcohol and drugs are involved, your chances of being sexually assaulted greatly increase.
Men should clarify sexual expectations ahead of time. Remember that you are responsible for your actions at all times and being intoxicated is not a legal defense for any sexual assault. Donʼt make assumptions when it comes to sexual contact. Communicate clearly and always get consent. A person has the right to say “no” at any point and to have that choice be respected.
Reducing Your Risk of Drug-Induced Assaults:
Unfortunately, college students nationwide have become victims of drug-induced sexual assaults. A person who has been drugged with flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), gamma hydrozybutyrate (GHB), or scopalamine may experience drowsiness, dizziness, and disorientation. Speech and motor skills may also be affected, with the drugged individual being unable to remember periods of time as long as 10 hours. To protect yourself:
- Never leave your beverage unattended.
- Only drink from cans/bottles you open.
- Only consume drinks you have prepared yourself.
- Avoid group drinks (e.g., punch).
If you think you may have been drugged and sexually assaulted, seek medical treatment as outlined in the following “Reporting Sexual Assaults” section.
Reporting Sexual Assaults:
If youʼve been sexually assaulted on campus, report the crime to Campus Security, the Cullman Sheriffʼs Department or Hanceville Police Department. Reporting doesnʼt mean you must take legal action, thatʼs a choice you can make later. By reporting the crime, however, you may help to stop the perpetrator from committing more assaults.
If you are sexually assaulted, preserve physical evidence that could be useful in an investigation should you pursue legal action. Do not change clothes, bathe, douche, or use the toilet. Do seek medical care immediately, whether or not you report the crime. In addition to taking care of obvious injuries, you need medical care to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. A physician can also counsel you about the possibility of pregnancy. The Cullman County Victim Services Office may be reached at (256) 736-2800.
Witnessing a Crime
If you witness a crime or are the victim of a crime on campus, obtain descriptions, and call the WSCC Police Department at (256) 352-8000. Call 911 in an emergency. Try to obtain a description of the offender, including clothing. If a vehicle is involved, get a description and the license plate number if possible. Remember which direction the vehicle went.
If you are the victim of a crime off campus and need police services, call 911, or contact the agency that has jurisdiction: the Cullman County Sheriffʼs Department, Dispatch Office (256) 734-0342, or the Hanceville Police Department (256) 352-9811.