Northern Illinois U. receives $50,000 to increase security

Northern Illinois University, along with six other area colleges, will receive $50,000 for upgrades to campus security. U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Egan) hosted a press conference Monday at Rockford College, announcing he had secured $350,000 to be split among NIU and six area colleges. Each institution will be allocated $50,000 toward upgrading security priorities.

"There are no strings with this; we trust the judgment of those running these institutions," Manzullo said in a Kane County Chronicle article Tuesday.

"As we continue to heal and remember the victims of the NIU tragedy, we must look ahead and implement measures to bolster safety on our college campuses to try to prevent it from happening again," he said in a press release. "I secured these funds to help our institutions of higher learning, in northern Illinois, purchase the equipment they need to better protect their students and teachers."

Congressman Manzullo's spokesman, Rich Carter, said the funding came from Fiscal Year 2008's appropriations process.

Carter said the congressman worked with NIU President John Peters and Ken Zehnder, NIU's assistant director of External Affairs, concerning the funding.

According to the press release on Manzullo's Web site, NIU will utilize the funds to purchase heavy-duty emergency medical kits for all major campus buildings as well as emergency response vehicles. The medical kits will contain dozens of items needed for faster trauma response.

"We plan to use it to put Blue Light emergency phones in areas external to campus and in the parking lots," said Larry Apperson, Kishuakee College vice president of Student Services. According to Manzullo's website, the phones will provide a direct link to the campus communications center allowing students to pick up the handsets or press a call button to report crimes, fires, medical emergencies or to request an escort.

Other area colleges scheduled to receive funding are Rockford College, Rock Valley College, McHenry County College, Highland Community College and Sauk Valley Community College. NIU Finance and Facilities was unavailable for comment at press time.

(C) 2008 Northern Star via U-WIRE