Schools, Sheriff Review Safety
Just one week after the tragic school shooting in Connecticut that left 20 children dead, schools in Monroe County are now taking extra steps to protect their students.
It is a critical time for schools to review safety procedures. There have been a number of so-called "threats" at area schools, and Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn said all of those recent reports have turned out to be unfounded.
While it may seem unreal that someone would try to piggyback on a national tragedy this way, they do, and the Sheriff's office takes every report very seriously.
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"I think everybody, when a situation like this occurs, definitely thinks about their own personal situation," said O’Flynn.
O'Flynn is father to a now adult son and daughter. Like any parent, he finds empathy with Sandy Hook.
"Oh, without a doubt. I mean, you obviously send your kids off, expecting them to be safe, until they return back home on a bus."
It drives O'Flynn to work harder, trying to prevent such tragedy in schools here – a job complicated by a recent spike in bomb and gun threats.
"Most of them have not been any credible threat, at this point; however, we check them out and take each one seriously."
In the event of an actual violent incident at any Monroe County school, O'Flynn says his deputies are trained to take down violent offenders.
"Active shooter response strategies are put in place, so small groups are able to effectively safely address the situation."
That effort is aided by the schools themselves. Last week, we visited Churchville-Chili, where each external and internal doorway is numbered, ensuring the quickest possible response.
"Also the common name: if it's a cafeteria, or if it's a gymnasium, or whatever... it's not just Room 117 or such."
And all Monroe County Schools regularly meet with the Sheriff's Department. In fact, just weeks before the Sandy Hook shooting, all the county superintendents got together to discuss safety.
Sheriff O'Flynn says since the tragedy, they've all agreed to do it again. He'll be meeting with the superintendents on January 15th.