Boosting School Safety
The Sandy Hook massacre shocked everyone and it has us all thinking about school safety.
Local law enforcement agencies and school officials are working together to find ways to make our schools safier.
Dan Sullivan of Gainesville is still shaken up by the Sandy Hook massacre.
He said his wife became emotional when she dropped off their first grade son at school.
"When she dropped off my son she was just crying, very terrified and touched by it. The teachers said it would be OK and consoled her as best she could," said Sullivan.
Each school in Alachua County already has policies and procedures in place in case of an emergency like a bomb threat or natural disaster, but officials believe there is still more to be done.
On Tuesday a joint work group was formed. Their focus; school safety.
The group is comprised of the Alachua County Sheriffs office, Gainesville, Alachua and High Springs police departments and Alachua County Public Schools.
"It's an unfortunate reality that we have to deal with, but it is in our mist and we need to focus on what we can do from a physical structure stand point, from a training stand point and from a planning standpoint," said Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
Darnell said the group will come up with recommendations during the month of January.
Some ideas are getting more mental health services, emergency training and more security procedures.
"A primary focus of this group is going to be to push former funding so that we can have school resource officers in everyone one of our schools not just our middle and high schools," said Jackie Johnson who is the Public Information Officer for Alachua County Public Schools.
Kanapaha Middle School rescource officer Deputy Josh Taylor expressed one of the advantages of having law enforcement on campus.
"First of all I can respond very quickly. Get to the threat very quickly and I can also let other officers know very quickly that we are having a problem on campus and have someone get here to back me up and get the problem resolved," said Deputy Taylor.
Boosting school safety is something that makes some parents feel a bit more calm after such a devastating tragedy.
"the more safety we can have around our schools the better. More people looking out after people, but sometimes you just don't know," said Sullivan.
Now something that will be done immediately is starting January 3, 2012 Sheriff Darnell will place deputies at unincorporated elementary schools in Alachua County.
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