UT schools work with law enforcement to refine safety measures
Feb 15, 2018, 5:38 PM | Updated: 8:31 pm
PLAIN CITY — Scenarios where tragedies are thwarted at schools do not always make national news, but they do happen more often than the mass shootings that garner widespread attention.
Webster School District officials credit the school resource officer for helping keep everyone safe when a student brought a gun to school in 2014, and district officials tell KSL they continue to refine safety measures.
On the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2014, a crowd of concerned parents waited outside Fremont High School.
They knew a student had brought a loaded gun to school, but thanks to the efforts of a school resource officer, they also knew their children were safe.
The officer confronted the suspect, thanks to information given to him by other students who heard the 16-year-old boy intended to open fire on the campus.
Lane Findlay, spokesman for the Weber School District, believes those happier endings often occur thanks to school resource officers.
“We’ve seen how effective it can be,” Findlay explained. “We feel there’s a tremendous value in having officers in the schools for kids to be able to go to if there are problems.”
Like many others in Utah, the Weber School District works with multiple law enforcement agencies to keep students safe.
Findlay said resource officers often help run various lockdown, evacuation, and reunification drills to help students and teachers prepare. He said the district’s security policies are constantly being reviewed, at times shortly after tragedies like Wednesday’s mass shooting in Miami.
“The sad and unfortunate thing is we see these events. They seem to happen almost on a weekly basis,” Findlay said. “It’s tragic to see them almost become commonplace.”
Findlay said in the coming days and weeks, the Weber School District will evaluate whether adjustments can be made in the response to fire alarms, noting that Miami shooter Nikolas Cruz apparently set off an alarm to get students out of their classrooms.
He said law enforcement and school district administrators often have to evaluate how attacks are carried out.
“It’s always a concern,” Findlay said. “Those events tend to shape direction and policy, as far as how we deal with school safety.”
He said resource officers work directly with school staff to implement changes.
“They’re ingrained in that administration,” Findlay explained. “They’re a part of the school, that they’re really the front line if something was to happen, that you have an officer on the scene.”