In the wake of the Newton Connecticut school shooting, the Statesville Police Department has increased the presence of uniformed officers in all of the city’s schools.
The initiative includes the placement of police sub stations within several of the schools.
Although there has not been any increase in police related incidents in the city schools, Police Chief Tom Anderson felt it was the right time to be proactive.
“Did the Sandy Hook tragedy create a need for me to re-examine our practices and school operations? Absolutely. Parents, teachers, and students have been concerned in cities across the nation and Statesville is no exception.”
After reviewing police procedures and operational needs with the school’s principals and key personnel, the department decided to place police substation offices inside N.B. Mills Elementary School on Pearl Street, East Elementary School on East Elementary Road, and Statesville High School on North Center Street.
Patrol officers are using the substations to check in and do paper work, thereby increasing their visible presence.
Police captains and higher ranking officers are also given a school to check on and be accountable for, according to Anderson.
All told, the new program impacts as many 10 officers each weekday, at no additional taxpayer costs.
In addition, the Statesville Police have begun conducting scenario based training in several of the city’s schools. According to Anderson, this training was recently conducted at Mitchell Community College and was highly successful.
“Since the Columbine incident, law enforcement nationally has continually trained and revised tactics to address these ever increasing threats,” he said. “Our department, along with the school system personnel will now make take this training site and staff specific.”
The police will also devote special attention to day care centers within the city and other related institutions. “Our police department will continue to be involved with and responsive to our community’s growing needs.”
In other news, Statesville Fire Chief David Bullins has announced that he will be leaving the city after a five year stint. Bullins, 48, has accepted a position with Guilford Technical Community College as the department chairman for the school’s Fire Protection Technology and Emergency Preparedness Programs.
Bullins received high praise for guiding the city through the construction of a fourth fire station and both hiring and training 14 additional firefighters. He came to Statesville in 2007 after serving 24 years with the Greensboro Fire Department.
His last day in Statesville will be Feb. 15.