Daily Updates

February 7, 2013

Police do reports in school lots in safety measure

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — Stunned by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, police and school officials in one Colorado county felt they had to do something to reassure students.

Their solution: Have police officers on patrol do their arrest reports and other paperwork in school parking lots, rather than simply pulling off the road or returning to the police station.

It’s had an immediate calming impact at a time when the nation is embroiled in the emotional debate over gun control and gun violence.

“The kids get to see us in a new light. We’re not showing up after something bad has happened,” said Sgt. Chris O’Neal of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department south of Denver.

O’Neal spoke while filling out paperwork outside Fox Creek Elementary School — one of six schools he visits daily.

He and his colleagues were ordered to use school lots to file their reports just days after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn.

“Instead of sitting underneath a bridge somewhere and doing a report or out in a field, just go to the school parking lot, do your information, it’s downloaded immediately, and all is well,” Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said.

Local police departments also joined the effort in Douglas County, where about 64,000 students attend schools in sprawling bedroom communities on the plains south of Denver.

Security officers have long been assigned to the district’s middle and high schools. But the district couldn’t assign an officer to each of its more than 50 elementary schools. To help police work from elementary school lots, the district offers Wi-Fi that’s faster than the cellphone Internet used by computers in patrol vehicles.

What happened at Sandy Hook forced officials here — and across the country — to re-evaluate their school security policies.

Sandy Hook “did everything right that we practice and that we drill on and that we talk about,” Douglas County schools Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen said.

“We thought that the pieces we have in place were enough. And then, this opened our eyes to a whole different view of that,” she said.

Other measures being considered here include having armed plainclothes officers at schools, and installing remote-control door-locking systems to keep any potential gunman boxed inside a confined area.

But the parking lot initiative was a simple idea that had an immediate impact.

“It is certainly an idea we’d support and encourage,” said Corey Ray, spokesman with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services, which encourages school-police partnerships.

 

1
Text Only
Daily Updates
  • 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday.

    April 23, 2014

  • In Other News, April 23

    April 23, 2014

  • US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • High court tosses $3.4M award to child porn victim

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

    April 23, 2014

  • Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

    For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.

    April 23, 2014

  • Deal signs bill expanding gun rights in Georgia

    Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation expanding where people with licenses to carry can bring their guns in Georgia.

    April 23, 2014

  • Indian film awards arrive in Tampa, Fla., but why?

    The so-called Bollywood Oscars have been held in Macau, Singapore, London — and now, Tampa?

    April 23, 2014

  • Indictment: Prosecutor targeted in kidnapping plot

    A North Carolina prosecutor was the intended target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers looked up the wrong address on the Internet and abducted the prosecutor’s father instead, according to an indictment released Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage

    As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger voters by de-emphasizing social issues.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.

    April 23, 2014