Police presence to increase following Connecticut school shootings

by Alison stewart | staff writer Published:

Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said he is "still trying to absorb the absolutely senseless tragedy that has occurred in Newtown" in regard to the school shootings in Connecticut.

Aurora Superintendent Russ Bennett said the aftermath of the shootings was "heart wrenching" as area leaders reacted following the recent Connecticut tragedy.

"I will convene a meeting as soon as possible with our [Streetsboro] Police Department and the leadership at the schools to further enhance the safety of our kids," Broska wrote on a Facebook post. "I have already formulated thoughts and ideas and will share them at the meeting."

Representatives from the Streetsboro Police Department met with school principals and Superintendent Dr. Tim Calfee on Dec. 17, according to Streetsboro Police Chief Roy Mosley III.

"We are going to be more visible this week to be a reassurance to parents so they know that we're out there," said Mosley. Schools will also be implementing the ALICE program, he said.

In Aurora, the schools already have the ALICE program in place.

According to Bennett, the schools have a school resource officer, Michelle Ice, who has trained the staff in ALICE training and will be training students, as well.

The training program known as ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) has been taught throughout the country, officials said. The training course teaches people how to prepare and possibly fight back against an armed gunman. Some of the training techniques include learning how to barricade a door, how to escape by breaking a window and, if they can't get away, how to fight back if they have no other option.

"All of the doors are locked during the school day," said Calfee. "We have a buzzer system along with a camera system so we know who is at the door."

According to Calfee, there is a police officer assigned to the district all day, every day.

"In every office, there is a 'panic button' that connects immediately to the police station," Calfee said.

There are also telephones in every classroom that are equipped to dial 911 immediately, according to Calfee.

"It is certainly heart wrenching to hear what happened in Connecticut," Bennett said.

"We have surveillance cameras in our schools and on our buses," Bennett said. "We also have a buzzing system to get into the building. The doors remained locked all day.

"Every month, our secretaries play out a scenario with security so they are prepared for dangerous situations," Bennett said.

Bennett said Aurora school personnel were scheduled to meet Dec. 21 with Chardon High School officials "to go over what they did and what they learned" following a school shooting incident in the Chardon district earlier in the year. The meeting was scheduled before the shootings in Connecticut occurred, according to Bennett.

Aurora Police Chief Seth Riewaldt said police officers will be sent to attend events that officers normally do not attend.

"We normally attend sporting events, but we will also be attending all events that go on in the evening such as concerts, since these events are open to the public," Riewaldt said. "People should expect to see officers in and around schools more than in the past."

Email: astewart@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9419 ext. 4163

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.