SOUTHINGTON – Homeland Security arrived up at Lincoln College of New England Thursday morning.
Fortunately, it was strictly a pre-emptive measures. They were there to make a virtual reality video of the campus for use by law enforcement in case there is ever a violent or catastrophic incident, said David Alling, director of public safety and head of operations for the college on Mount Vernon Road.
Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive, computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment that incorporates mainly auditory and visual elements to create an immersive environment that represents a fantasy world or, as in this case, a physical place in the real world.
Alling said he has been to many security seminars given by Douglas J. Pesce, protective security advisor for the Connecticut district of Homeland Security.
Several years ago Alling learned that Homeland Security offers VR training as a service so he arranged to have a virtual recreation of the campus made.
“They do it for colleges, they do it for hospitals, for civic centers, big buildings like that,” he said. “It took four years to get them here, that’s how busy they are. They go all over doing this, and Doug does a lot of other things too.”
Pesce and his team came to the campus Thursday morning and walked around filming for several hours, Alling said. “They did the classrooms, the student apartments, the outside the whole campus. You send them a PDF map of your facilities and then they go around to all the access and egress points, and if you have any special concerns they go into those areas.”
They use Google to incorporate an aerial map of the campus and the surrounding area, including Lake Compounce, he said.
Alling said he expects to get the finished VR video in about a month, and he will distribute copies to the Southington Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.
“They will have them in case we ever have an incident here, so they’ll be able to see where every part of the college is. I will use it as a training tool with my staff and some of the students -- the RAs [resident assistants. It’s a fantastic tool,” he said.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.