Most Woodland College students already know that the campus is a stone’s throw away from the Yolo County Jail. Others may not. This may disturb many students, but for others, it is just the way things are. People who are uncomfortable with the proximity of the jail are mostly afraid of the convicts getting out and posing a risk to others.
Woodland College has already witnessed at least three escapes since 2004. A convict escaped from the jail on January 14, 2007; another in August 2006; and another in 2004.
Information regarding various escapes comes mostly from various Woodland College officials, who are very cooperative but know about an escape only if it happened during class hours.
According to police and college officials, anyone who has escaped from the Yolo Jail has been immediately recovered. The female convict that escaped in 2006 made it into the new construction on Woodland College grounds before she was apprehended. The escapee in 2004 was also found on college property near the 700 building.
Safety is a college priority, say Woodland College officials. A campus police officer patrols the grounds regularly. The sheriff station is located down the street. In the event of an emergency, students should get immediate response from the police and fire department. Furthermore, according to Stacey Cook, Dean of Student Services, who chairs the college safety committee, we have a protocol in place in case of any emergency.
The committee, which holds regular open meetings, is in the process of producing an Emergency Procedures Manual. The plans are to provide a full version in the front offices and a small quick use version for each classroom. Communication is always the key in any emergency.
The jail notifies Woodland College in the case of head count being off or anyone missing. According to Cook there is always staff in place to carry out the college’s emergency protocol.
Student will most likely never feel completely safe when they know that the jail is so close. The sheriff’s department has not eased any minds by being slow to provide information. The only way to get information from them is through The Freedom of Information Act, which involves writing an official request and waiting for an official response, which has not come in the mail.