'School Safety is Our Priority,' Official Says

Strongsville police have plan in place to prevent, deal with violence


Strongsville police have stepped up patrols around school buildings in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, Safety Director Charles Goss said.

Goss, speaking at a City Council meeting Monday, said the police department and schools are also taking a fresh look at their crisis and safety plan.

"School safety has been our priority," he said.

Police Chief Jim Kobak said Strongsville's plan starts with a school resource officer and two DARE officers, who are trained to detect troubled children -- and intervene quickly.

The effort also includes zone officers who patrol around school buildings daily -- and often stop in to talk with staff -- and a tactical operations plan in the event of a crisis.

Kobak said the department has regular drills with the schools, seeking feedback and adding updates.

"We cannot become complacent," Kobak said.

Superintendent John Krupinksi, in a letter to parents on Dec. 14, said he has "complete confidence in our staff" to implement the crisis plan if necessary.

"Additionally, in light of this tragic event, we will review the plan, in collaboration with the Strongsville Police Department, to be sure we are doing the best we can to create a safe and secure environment for our students," Krupinski said.

Goss asked residents to do three things to help stay safe:

• Be aware and be vigilant. "If you know of someone who is struggling, call us," he said.

• Take reasonable safety precautions at home.

• If you own firearms, secure them. The police department will give you gun locks free of charge.

Mayor Tom Perciak, too, asked residents to keep an eye out for unusual behavior and suspicious situations.

"If you see something that looks a bit awry, call our police department," he said.



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