Lynchburg Police Chief Talks School Security
Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg's Schools Superintendent wants to fast-track school security projects since the incident in Newtown, Conn. and he's hoping to restore school resource officers, or SROs.
Dr. Brabrand brought his recommendations to the school board Tuesday night, but what he wants is easier said than done.
Tight budgets have meant fewer and fewer SROs monitoring our schools.
Lynchburg Police Chief Parks Snead certainly wants more SROs, but that doesn't mean he'll get them. To get more SROs, the Chief says he needs more police officers first.
SRO spots are very popular within the department.
"It was a shame we had to curtail that, even temporarily," said Chief Snead.
In fiscal year 2012, SROs were pulled out of middle schools. Police say the officers were needed on patrol. Heritage and E.C. Glass high schools each had one. Chief Snead doesn't see much change coming any time soon.
"Unfortunately, our staffing situation has not changed to the point that I'm comfortable redeploying those officers, until I have additional staffing to do it," said Snead.
But Lynchburg City Schools want more than SROs.
"You recheck everything to make sure everything's aligned, that the door latches are catching, and the security you think is there is functioning the way it's suppose to function," said Ben Copeland, assistant superintendent of operations and administration.
Copeland says they want to speed up projects already in the works. Since Newtown, security ideas slated for 2015 are now scheduled for 2014. They include securing school entrances with what's being called "security vestibules." Those could possibly have a civilian security guard and the latest technology greeting every school visitor.
"Where we have cameras, the capability of those cameras and do we have enough? Where can we provide video surveillance not only for information but also for deterrence," said Copeland.
Administration also plans to work with police to improve crisis training scenario. Still, both police and the administration say Lynchburg City Schools are safe.
On Wednesday, Delegate Bob Marshall announced that he's writing legislation to allow school personnel to carry a firearm.
Right now, guns aren't allowed on school grounds.