Edmond police, city officials step up security at schools
EDMOND, Feb 28, 2013 (The Oklahoman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Police are keeping a closer watch on Edmond students in the wake of tragedies on school campuses across the U.S., especially after the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Officers aren't coming into the station to write their reports at the end of their shifts. Instead, they are using laptop computers in their patrol cars while sitting in elementary school parking lots, said police Capt. Tim Dorsey.
"The officers have adopted a school in the district they patrol," Dorsey said. "They have increased the routine patrol around the schools. They also go inside and talk to the principals and kids."
Police, the city and school officials have produced a short video to let parents and the community know what is being done to keep Edmond children safe.
Dorsey is featured on the video, explaining the increased officer presence in elementary schools during morning and afternoon hours. The video was made in a hallway at Cross Timbers Elementary School.
The video is being distributed on police and school Facebook and Web pages.
Edmond Public Schools spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said the video also is being sent to each of the schools so the principals can share it with their students' parents.
"We are pleased to collaborate with the police department and the city on this worthwhile project," Parks-Schlepp said. "We hope that this creative, informative video will help parents understand the variety of ways in which police are increasing their presence at our schools, especially at our elementary schools.
Relationships are invaluable. You learn who belongs and shouldn't be there, and if there is a problem, you learn the layout of the school."
Capt. Tim Dorsey,
"As our district looks into additional ways that we can further enhance the protection of students and staff, we believe that having police officers complete their reports on laptops while parked in our schools' lots, rather than finishing them back at the station, is an innovative and effective way to bolster security without using additional resources."
Edmond has had school resource officers at the high schools and middle schools for more than 10 years.
A school resource officer, assigned to a particular school, is assigned to keep the school and students safe on a daily basis.
The officer also works with school administrators to address security problems that may occur on campus.
"We feel like that is where the large population is during the daytime and that is where we need to be," Dorsey said. "We hope to improve safety in the schools and establish relationships.
"Relationships are invaluable. You learn who belongs and shouldn't be there, and if there is a problem, you learn the layout of the school."
Security in the schools is important to the officers, who have come up with many of the ideas for better protection, Dorsey said.
"Most officers have kids in Edmond schools," Dorsey said. "Safety is a priority."
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