In the wake of yet another school shooting, Campbell County Officials are affirming safety is the top priority for students here.
Last month, they also had this confirmed at a school safety summit.
Williamson County, which is the state leader in school safety, is who the local district models its safety plan after, according to Campbell County Director of Schools Jennifer Fields.
“We do know the reality of it (school shootings). We learned it first hand,” Fields said referencing the 2005 Campbell County High School shooting.
Eight years ago, there were only two school resource officers in the county. Today, there is a school resource officer in each school, according to Fields. School resource officers are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools.
In Campbell County, their responsibilities go beyond the basic requirements, according to Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins. SROs must have a marksmanship score of 90 or higher, which is the same score it takes to qualify for SWAT. SROs further undergo quarterly training and perhaps the most important part is they are “handpicked,” Goins said. “Being in the school is a unique environment. These officers not only protect the students and staff, they interact with them,” he said. “That is why it is vitally important the SROs are highly trained and qualified.”
And while the technical qualifications of the sheriff department’s SROs are strong, they are also taking another approach to school safety. SROs meet with school staff on a regular basis to address areas of concern, said Fields. However, the SROs don’t stop there. “If a problem arises, the SROs will stay until it is resolved,” the sheriff said.
“Our local law enforcement reached out to the most efficient schools (in terms of safety) and worked with them,” Fields said. In short, Campbell County has been “proactive” in terms of school safety, according to Fields.
Campbell County Schools will meet with the CCSD today to discuss the guidelines of a safety grant the county has received. While some parents have asked for metal detectors to be installed as a deterrent to on campus crime, Fields said the cost is prohibitive. With a price tag of roughly $30,000 each, in conjunction with the number of machines needed and the staff needed to man the equipment, other options are going to be explored, she said.
Items such as cameras, facial scanners and bullet proof window film could be explored.
“Trainings have told us the number one protection (against school crime) is a well trained staff,” she said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/24/2018-6AM)