DCSO talks about security
School officials and law enforcement officers met Wednesday afternoon to discuss precautions they can take to make sure school violence doesn’t happen in Douglas County.
“We talked about concerns such as what happens if police respond in that kind of situation, what will they do? We know our mission, but we need to get familiarized with what they expect from us. We will have our tactical commanders brief the teachers about what to expect and what our roles are going to be,” Sheriff Ron Pierini said.
Pierini said one result that came out of the meeting is the SWAT officers will do training inside the schools.
“They will allow our tactical team to train in the schools so they are real familiar with the schools. The more familiar they are, the faster they will be able to search it and not miss anything,” Pierini said.
The schools will also be supplying the sheriff’s office with blueprints of the schools.
Pierini said each of the schools has warning mechanisms that let staff know if they need to evacuate, if they need to barricade themselves in their classrooms, or just that there may be a problem and staff needs to stay alert. However, he said those mechanisms are not uniform among the schools and the law enforcement officials suggested they make them so.
n Community policing. Sheriff Pierini said DCSO is ahead of the game in the way officers are reaching out to the community through the Community Action Team.
“In regards to the community policing concept, we’re light years ahead of a lot of communities. Part of it is the repeat offender team who is trained in conflict resolution. If there is a concern about a student, we will send those officers in and talk to him about the allegations and about what kind of resources to give this person and also communicate with his parents so they’re aware,” Pierini said.
Also part of the Community Action Team is the peer court, made up of Douglas High School students.
Pierini said the peer court will help identify students who are potentially violent.
“It will help because we now have about 30 students in DHS willing to participate and the more students out there with understanding about our concerns, and the more they know what they can do as a student to help prevent that, the more apt they will be to communicate with us in case something comes up. I really believe it is 100 percent positive,” Pierini said.
One of Pierini’s goals is to get school resource officers into the school. He said getting the money to pay for them has been a problem.
“We go there on calls. We even have officers on their own time go spend time in the school. We’re enthused about it, but I’m afraid the school has to buy into this, too, we have to have resources from school, too. It comes down to dollars and cents,” he said.
Pierini said the DCSO plans on working with the schools more in the future and meeting with school officials again to brainstorm about safety issues.
“I’m really proud of the people doing this, I think it will pay off. We plan on having more meetings and trying to work with each one of schools,” he said.