Sheriff’s Office pledges extra patrols in the wake of Connecticut shooting
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting extra patrols around the county’s elementary schools for the next few days, the department said Saturday.
The move comes after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Conn. killed 26 children and adults.
Superintendent Edgar Hatrick sent an email to parents to Friday night to assure them that the school system was doing as much as it could to protect students.
“As the father of three children who graduated from Loudoun’s schools and the grandfather of young children, I am deeply saddened and concerned about what happened in a public school today,” Hatrick said. “As your superintendent, I make the safety of our students and staff my first priority; a priority I share with our School Board and my fellow superintendents across America.”
Suzanne Devlin, the school system’s safety and security supervisor, is a former Fairfax County Police Chief. She met with local law enforcement agencies Friday to ask them to step up patrols, Hatrick’s email said.
The school system has 40 School Resource Officers, armed and uniformed members of the Leesburg Police and Loudoun County’s Sheriff’s Office in each middle and high school.
Many of the elementary schools also have DARE officers, Sheriff Mike Chapman also noted in a prepared statement.
All schools use the AiPhone intercom and security systems to provide limited access to the school for visitors.
Swipe cards were recently handed out to teachers and police officers to allow them quick access into a school in case of an emergency, said LCPS spokesman Wayde Byard.
School system staff have radios and all the schools have security cameras that are monitored from a central office at the school system’s bus depot.
Hatrick said in the email that the school system’s efforts to protect schools predates the Columbine school shooting.
“After the September 11th attacks we severely limited access to our schools by locking and monitoring entrances,” Hatrick said in the email. “We want to ensure that only people who have legitimate business in our schools are allowed inside.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Monday that the state would reexamine its safety standards at every level of education and a task force would be created to recommend legislative and budget proposals to improve school security.
“It is our duty in state and local government to do everything we can to ensure our young people from kindergarten through college are able to learn and thrive in a safe and secure environment,” McDonnell said in a statement.