In light of the recent Connecticut school shootings, the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office has initiated a safe schools program at every school in the county.
This program is an effort to prevent problems with school shootings, drug dealing and other criminal activity at or near the schools.
While speaking to members of the Harlan Independent Board of Education recently, Sheriff Marvin Lipfird discussed ways to make schools across the county more safe.
“We were excited to hear the sheriff is going to be able to place some officers in our school and all the schools,” said Harlan High School Principal C.D.Morton. “We welcome that and any kind of help they can provide us. We want to do whatever we can to make parents and students feel safe.”
Morton said the Harlan Independent School system hopes to “cultivate” this proposed relationship with the sheriff’s office and he welcomes a radio communication system for the district.
“This would be wonderful,” said Morton. “Any additional resource we have to communicate more effectively and efficiently with the sheriff’s office and others would be a huge resource to us. We welcome that, should this come to fruition.”
Lipfird said he has now rearranged schedules and assigned deputies to certain district areas where schools are located. He noted this is not an added expense to the county.
Lipfird told board members a deputy is now assigned to each school area, where they will make their presence known every day sometime during school hours. He also said he is placing a radio notification system in each school to be used if a crisis situation occurs.
“God forbid anything like Newtown happen here, but with this radio contact system, which is old equipment we already had on hand, the schools will now have radio coverage directly to the sheriff’s office if a crisis occurs,” said Lipfird. “When we got grants and a new system, I kept this system as a redundant backup just in case. Tri-State Electronics agreed to reprogram radios free of charge. So, we’re installing a radio at each school — city, county and two Christian schools in the county. In the event something happens, we’ll be able to respond more quickly.”
Diagrams of all school buildings are being gathered by the sheriff’s office, which will be used for security purposes. Lipfird noted he and his deputies will begin training sessions in the schools after the children have left for the day.
“I’m also planning to have some training exercises with the schools — lock-down drills and other security scenarios,” said Lipfird.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org