How prepared are local schools for an active shooter?
With yesterday’s school shooting in Troutdale and the shooting at Seattle Pacific University, we spoke with local school districts to see if they have policies in place to prepare for a worst case scenario.
Aberdeen Superintendent Dr. Thomas Opstad and Montesano Superintendent Dan Winter had both heard of the events at Reynolds High School and Winter says they have worked with the Montesano Police Department and the Sherriff’s Office to be prepared.
“We are implementing a school alert system, where basically any staff member, from their computer, can signal for a lockdown. They can push a button, things will go into lockdown, and it will also notify the police department. The police department will also have the ability to lock the schools down. So, in the instance of the courthouse shooting, if we had this system, they could put the schools in lockdown just from their phones and it would tell us what the situation was, but we would know instantly if we needed to lock all the buildings down.
Dr. Opstad says their schools work on drills monthly and are working on having a presence once again at the school. “We’re actually working with the Aberdeen Police Department to submit a grant for a school resource officer”. Opstad says that they have 2 other payments that will be ending in 2017/2018, and those extra funds could be used to fund an SRO in the future.
Winter says they have had talks about getting an officer as well.
“We talked a lot about it after the shooting at Sandy Hook. We’ve talked about trying to join with the police department and jointly hire someone.” said Winter, “it has crossed our minds and it may be something that we need to do down the road.”
We spoke with Sheriff Rick Scott, and he said that his office is prepared to respond to any situation within local schools. “There was a statewide project that was put on through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs that did school mapping statewide so that law enforcement would have the layout of all the schools within your jurisdiction”.
Authorities in Portland say a teen gunman armed with a rifle shot and killed the 14-year-old student and injured a teacher before he likely killed himself at the high school east of Portland.
A vigil took place Tuesday evening just five miles from the shooting scene.