Preparing schools for emergencies

Published 10:42pm Monday, December 17, 2012

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill said Polk County Schools does a good job with what they have and practice their procedures.

When asked how the schools could be better protected, Hill said he personally thinks school resource officers would be a way for the schools to be better protected.

Hill said Polk County Schools all practice procedures and the sheriff’s office does one or two walk-throughs at different schools every day. The purpose of the walk-throughs include to ensure everything is okay, he said, as well as communication with school staff and students.

“I want kids to see officers and be able to talk to them,” Hill said.

Polk County currently has unarmed guards at Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School.

They are not currently contracted through the sheriff’s office. Miller said the high school guard has a radio directly connected to law enforcement for quick communications.

Hill said he’s gone over and over what could have prevented the Connecticut shooting and thought, what if that happened here?

Hill’s solutions involve a lot of “ifs” just like most people across the country, but he said if Sandy Hook would have had a trained school resource officer, that officer could have noticed a guy with an assault rifle dressed in black and a vest trying to enter the school. A trained officer would have immediately called for back-up and done his job to stop the threat, Hill said. It may have not prevented all the deaths, but possibly some, Hill said, and maybe all the deaths.

A school resource officer is trained with other officers in rapid deployment and trained in how an officer goes in and after the threat, Hill said.

“My personal opinion is they need to get school resource officers back in schools who are trained; trained with other deputies in case of an active shooter,” Hill said. “And it costs money, I know, but you can’t put a price on a child’s life. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but our odds will be a lot better.”

The Chaplains of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a prayer vigil Tuesday, Dec. 18 in memory of the victims of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

The vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, located at 8045 Howard Street, Spartanburg, S.C. 29303. There will be cards people can sign to send to the victim’s families.

Editor's Picks