Schools could get safer with help of law enforcement

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 05:52 PM

A team of High Point and Greensboro police and Guilford sheriff’s deputies could serve Guilford County Schools in a pinch.
The Guilford County Schools Security Task Force on Monday discussed forming a flexible team that could assist school resource officers in case of the need for a larger investigation.
“Our law enforcement partners have talked about how it would be very helpful to have a flexible team that would be overseen publicly by Capt. Elliott,” said Nora Carr, GCS chief of staff.
Capt. R.A. Elliott with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office serves as the commander of the school resource officers.
The team could come together and immediately pool investigative resources and to help make sure schools have adequate  safety procedures in place.
“It’s one thing to ask schools to do these things, its another to go check and see if they’re doing them and test procedures and help with some of the training that is needed,” Carr said.
The flexible team would consist of officers from High Point, Greensboro and the county, as well as a corporal. The team could deal with cross-jurisdiction issues and investigate issues that begin in the neighborhoods and manifest in the schools, or vice versa.
Under the school system’s current procedures, a school resource officer at a school might be trying to do an investigation while also dealing with a fight or some other issue that breaks out. Also, SROs can be pulled from the middle and high schools to deal with issues at another school, leaving other schools uncovered.
“So the idea is to have this sort of flexible team that could go as needed to different areas and be on top of things quickly,” she said.
The costs for the team would be the cost of the officers and startup costs for equipment, Carr said. There is money available to local law enforcement and grants that can be applied for through the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program.
Quintin Trent, director of school safety and security, said this would be a step to be proactive to school situations instead of reactive.

In other business:

Can you hear me now?
Emergency responders have trouble communicating with each other within some schools in the district. The Security Task Force discussed options of how to rectify this, including purchasing 800 megahertz radios in schools which could range from $2,800 to $5,000 per radio; installing a BDA repeater, which bounces radio or cell signals which can cost at least $15,000.

When disaster strikes...
Some schools lack safety equipment such as weather radios and automated external defibrillators. Providing weather radios for the 31 schools and sites that don’t have operational ones could cost the school system between $1,549 and $3,351. AEDs for the 13 schools and sites that don’t have them could cost between $16,185 and $32,435.
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617