Cazenovia and Morrisville State Colleges use social media and text messages to alert students about police chase

A police chase through Madison County yesterday evening put two college campuses on lockdown. Cazenovia College and Morrisville State College issued text alerts to their students notifying them that an armed suspect was being chased by police and to stay indoors.

Cazenovia College Sophomore Juliann Heigel learned that police were chasing a suspected armed man near campus when her roommate got a text message from the school.

"Our neighbors came in and said you need to lock your doors and shut your windows," said Heigel.

Both Cazenovia College and Morrisville State used emergency communication plans to contact their students and had them stay indoors while the chase was going on. After the Virginia Tech shooting, colleges around the country set up procedures in case of an on-campus emergency and the communication plan is a multi-platform.

"Our Facebook page, Twitter, text message, we send out e-mails and place it on the home page of our website to shelter in place. To make sure that no matter what, people are getting this message," said Amy Cornue, Public Relations Officer at Morrisville State College.

At Cazenovia and Morrisville, students have to sign up in order to receive text alerts. Danielle Fredenburg was glad she had the latest information as it came in. The suspect was brought into custody just steps away from the Cazenovia campus.

"It's definitely good to have it right away, as far as getting it from someone the next day and not even knowing it happened. That could be scary. Just knowing you didn't even know it was going on," said Fredenburg.

Juliann Heigel isn't currently signed up for text alerts, but after last night's scare it convinced her that she should sign up to receive Caz alerts.

"If I didn't hear that from anyone else I wouldn't even have known anything. So now that I'm going to get the Caz alert, I'll be more updated with what's going on around campus," said Heigel

The emergency communication plans helped both colleges to reach out to their students and keep not only them informed, but their parents as well. Without the use of technology and social media communication between the students and public safety would have been far more difficult.