In light of the deadly massacre in Parkland, Florida, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has reviewed its school safety procedures and evaluated its preparedness in an effort to reassure the public and to make sure the department is ready to react to any situation.
Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley, Jr. said every school in the county has “Emergency Response Plans” on file with the department and that all comply with state standards.
Most importantly, Langley said that all five districts have school resource officers he labeled "instrumental," as well as two districts that have additional armed Special Patrol Officers in their elementary schools.
The sheriff also said he feels the School Resource Officer program is the best preventative measure for not only handling a violent school incident but for addressing many other problems that can affect youth. An at a school gives students and staff someone to interact with and share concerns. These deputies have training specific to working in a school setting and recognizing a threat before it’s carried out, he added.
In addition to the resource officers and the preparedness plan, the department also has worked and trained with administrations from each school districts on how to manage a mass casualty incident using the “State Incident Command System.” Police officers from the New York State Police, Carmel Police and, Kent Police assist in participating in lockdown drills. These drills help instill sound tactics for students and teachers.
Every sworn officer in the department is certified in “Active Shooter Response” training. Understanding that any school incident would hail police from every agency around, the department cross trains with surrounding agencies so all responding units will have the same tactics.
"We are proud to be in a partnership with our school districts encouraging the safest environment for our children to learn and come home safe to their families," the sheriff said.
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