District pulls together local law enforcement to discuss school safety measures
CASTLE ROCK - On Monday Superintendent Dr. Liz Fagen met with local law enforcement leaders to discuss school safety in light of last week's tragedy in Connecticut. The group not only reviewed some of DCSD's current practices, but also proposed several efforts to improve security moving forward.
The following is the joint letter sent by the superintendent and law enforcement leaders following that meeting:
Dear DCSD Families:
Thank you for the recent communication. We appreciate hearing your voices. This morning much of the DCSD district leadership team met with our local law enforcement partners to discuss the Sandy Hook Elementary incident. We spent time debriefing what we know about the incident, reviewing our current, strong safety plans, and making recommendations and plans for making our school safety program even stronger.
As a result of this meeting that included the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, Castle Rock Police Department, City of Lone Tree Police Department, and Parker Police Department, we have developed plans to strengthen DCSD school safety through our partnerships with law enforcement.
Before I get into the strategies we are going to jointly employ, I'd like to review the safety processes and practices we currently have in place.
-All DCSD school doors are locked and/or have safety personnel at the door to greet each visitor.
-All middle and high schools have school security at their entrances.
-All DCSD high schools have uniformed School Resource Officers and marked cars in addition to safety personnel at the open door.
-We practice many drills regularly including lockdown drills.
-We do "tabletop exercises" with emergency scenarios in collaboration with law enforcement at least annually.
-We provide district high-speed internet access to our law enforcement partners so they can do reports etc. in our parking lots and/or in our schools. We appreciate the extra police presence and our internet access is much faster than the cellular alternative.
-We partner with law enforcement to offer YESS and many other proactive safety programs including Text-a-Tip.
-We have a standard response protocol (SRP) in place in all district buildings.
-Each summer we (DCSD + law enforcement) do active shooter trainings in our schools.
In addition to all of these safety and security measures currently employed in the district, and given what we have learned from recent events, we are now adding/considering the following strategies:
-For the next three days (and likely after break also) the district is collaborating with law enforcement to provide uniformed police officers in marked cars at all of our schools no less than once per day.
-This is our fill-the-gap plan while we study and implement more permanent solutions. This is being implemented now.
-All law enforcement partners are asking on-duty officers who are doing reports etc. to do them at our schools instead of other options, providing an increased law enforcement presence at our schools.
-DCSD Nutrition Services will be providing free lunch to all police officers who stop by for lunch with one of our schools.
-DCSD district leaders and law enforcement partners will conduct a telephone townhall for parents this Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about our safety strategies as well as answer questions. If you do not receive a phone call inviting you to participate, please call 877-228-2184 and enter passcode 19350 to join the conversation.
We are establishing a safety committee that will meet monthly during this transition period and then quarterly to study, perhaps recommend, and establish the following:
- A School Marshal-style program that mirrors the Airline Marshal program where the district will collaborate with law enforcement to employ plain-clothes, armed School Marshals that cover an undisclosed number of schools each day. A School Marshal would be at each school each day. These Marshals would likely be police officers with current training etc. This is a joint project that will take some time to put together and implement well. This is one reason we have chosen a fill-the-gap solution for the next three days and possibly longer - so we can study, recommend, and possibly implement School Marshals well. There is much work to do on this strategy.
- Staff training
- Review potential capital improvements to add additional safety and security to schools. Potential improvements include but are not limited to:
- Improved exterior doors
- Automatic doors and/or gates that close and lock in an emergency and prevent an intruder from being able to access classroom spaces
- Safe areas
- Study/consider other school safety personnel programs.
We mutually agreed that we need a layered approach - a scaffolding approach to school safety. We believe that the School Marshal program layered with increased police presence and a potential longer- term safety personnel program will provide a very high degree of safety for our schools. Our goal is to go about each of these ideas thoughtfully, collect data/information, review/reflect/learn, make improvements, and continually update them. This will all be through the safety committee.
Phase II of our work is about the mental health aspects of what we have learned and will continue to learn about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary. We look forward to adding mental health experts and recommendations to our safety committee soon.
I am very proud of the DCSD community and believe that we have a very strong safety program in place for our students. However, we believe in and are committed to continuous improvement. We have learned a lot in the past several days, and we know that our students deserve only the best. That is what we, and our partners in law enforcement, intend to provide.
Please let us know if you have questions or concerns that cannot wait until the telephone townhall this Wednesday. We want to support you and your family as we work through this time. As I have said before, our mission is learning (preparing each student for the college or career pathway of his/her choice), and our number one priority is safety.
Douglas County Sheriff
Chief of Police
Castle Rock Police Department
Castle Rock Police Department
Chief of Police
Lone Tree Police Department
Chief of Police
Parker Police Department
Telephone Townhall: Safety in Douglas County Schools
Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen and local law enforcement leaders
Wednesday, December 19 * 6:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to participate
Call 877-228-2184 and enter passcode 19350
December 17, 2012 | By Anonymous | Category: Safety and Security