It's been four months since Bakersfield Police say a man attacked a woman in a bathroom on the campus of Bakersfield College.
That attack is the second assault on campus in two years. Last week a Kern County jury found 21-year-old Brandon Robinson guilty on 15 felony counts including an assault on BC's campus.
In April, Chief Christopher Counts sent students and faculty an email regarding the latest incident on campus but failed to call it a sexual assault. After the 2017 arrest, his office added a cadets to campus security through the student work study program.
According to Counts, Bakersfield College has ten full-time security staff. He says the campus is looking alert students and faculty through text messaging or other phone applications in future incidents. Counts says campus safety is the administration's highest priority.
Today I reached out to Counts about updated safety procedures. He sent me this statement through the Heise Media Group.
Christopher Counts, Director/Chief, Department of Public Safety –
Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort. All Bakersfield College campuses are an integral part of our public community and we are committed to making everyone on our campus safe through education and prevention.
This year, we have ramped up foot patrols in all buildings and in all areas of campus. We have increased our number of officers and cadets and are in the process of replacing our patrol vehicle fleet. We continue to offer various trainings free to students and the community such as Defense Trainings and Active Shooter Response trainings and are exploring various enhanced safety features such as apps for quick and easy reporting. Each year as we welcome new students to campus, we encourage them to keep the Public Safety phone number in their contacts to quickly contact us at any time. As we kick off a new year, BC is also offering a free shuttle service for the first four weeks of the fall semester. The Renegade Express Shuttle will be in operation from August 20th through September 13th with various pickup and drop off locations on the perimeter of campus, shuttling students to the core of BC.
We also encourage students to utilize the services offered such as Public Safety escorts, where our cadets or officers escort students to their class or vehicle, or wait with them as they are waiting for transportation. Information is available for students in the Campus Safety Booklet, provided to the entire Kern Community College District. No matter where you are in Kern County, these safety tips, emergency contacts, medical service contact info, crisis center hotline details, or more can be a tremendous one stop resource for you. BC’s Public Safety maintains an excellent partnership with BPD. With many years working together, BC’s Public Safety Department has all BPD radio channels for immediate communication when needed. We look forward to welcoming our students to campus for another year at the Home of the Renegades.
Counts told me in April that communicating with students about public safety is a priority for campus officials, however BC freshman Makenzi Adams says during orientation there was no mention of campus safety.
I spoke with a BC professor who said they believe the campus is working with the resources they have but feels like more can be done. I also spoke with a student cadet who feels the campus is outdated and video surveillance would benefit campus security.