Friday, January 4, 2013

State Should Create Certified School Safety Advocates.

The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has caused all of us in Connecticut to review our school safety plans, policies, and procedures.

In Danbury, we have reviewed every building's plans and have walked each school. Emergency plans will be updated and an assessment of the layout of each building will be conducted by a consultant to provide any thoughts and ideas on improvements that can be made to the structure of each building to enhance safety.

For the short term, we have hired a security company that will be working in each elementary school while we interview and hire Safety Advocates that we plan on deploying in each elementary school. 

Many parents have requested that we post police officers permanently in each of the elementary schools. Unfortunately, most communities in Connecticut don't have the manpower to staff all of their elementary schools with a certified Police Officer indefinitely (in Danbury we need 25 or so new Police Officers). Becoming a Police Officer in Connecticut is an intensive and long process that typically takes almost a year for a civilian to become a fully trained certified Police Officer.

The Legislature should create a new certified position in public safety called School Safety Advocate.

Prospective candidates could attend a regional training academy of approximately 6 weeks that would be run by a blend of state police, local police, and school personnel. Classes on everything from school security, lock down procedures, first aid, active shooter scenarios, police procedures, communications, and other relevant school policies and procedures would be held. At the conclusion of the program, each graduate would be state certified as a School Safety Advocate and would be eligible for hire by a school district. 

Having trained Safety Advocates certified by the state in each elementary building in the State of Connecticut would be an important step in formalizing and standardizing training across the state - and provide a new level of security for our children. 

Recent events have taught us that when an event occurs in one of our school buildings, multiple jurisdictions typically respond (FBI, State Police, Local Police, EMT's, Fire etc.). It's important for the first responders to interact with onsite staff who have all been in trained in the same manner, and have knowledge of  appropriate safety procedures regardless of what municipality the incident takes place.

Should the School Safety Advocate be armed? That will be a policy decision for the Legislature....

No comments:

Post a Comment