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Police Updating Plans in Wake of School Shooting

'Hide them,' Doylestown Borough Police Chief says, outlining ways to protect children from a shooter, and 'defend them, if you have to.'

As the nation continues to mourn the murders of 20 children and six staff members at a Connecticut school, Doylestown Borough Police are refreshing their school response plans.

The department on Monday said it is in the process of updaing information about all of the schools in the borough, including floor plans, schematics and evacuation routes.

"We work closely with the school district," Police Chief Jim Donnelly said Monday night. "The computers in the (police) cars will have the floor plans, so when we pull up to a school, we know what room we're looking at."

The department also plans to add day care centers and private kindergartens in the borough to its list of schools, Donnelly said. Officers started on Monday visiting the five or six centers in the borough, obtaining information on the school's layout and helping school officials there develop response plans.

Donnelly said he has directed his officers to spend as much available time as possible near the borough's schools

"You’ll see police cars sitting around in the front of schools and in the rear of schools, on a random basis," the chief said. "If (the officers) have to write a report, go sit by the school and write the report. Just to have a police presence there."

Meanwhile, Central Bucks School District superintendent Dr. Rod Green said Monday that school principals are reviewing their schools' safety and security measures.

"Each building has a safety/security team which will be meeting to discuss protocols and possible improvements to our security," Green said in a note to district parents and staff.

Besides updating response plans, the police department also posted advice on what to do if such a danger threatened children in Doylestown.

Donnelly elaborated on that advice Monday night.

The first action to take would be to evacuate to a safe area, he said. If that isn't possible, two more options are available.

"Hide them, which they did in Sandy Hook," the chief said, referring to the teachers who saved childrens' lives by hiding them in cabinets and closets. "And the final thing is defend them, if you have to."

 

EVACUATE (if possible)
-Have an escape route and plan in mind.
-Leave your belongings behind.
-Keep your hands visible and open palms facing forward.
-Follow instructions of police officers.
-Have a designated meeting point and knowledge of everyone who is present.

HIDE OUT
-If you are in an office, stay there.
-If you are in a hallway, lobby, etc., get into a room.
-Lock and barricade the door with large items (i.e. desks, file cabinets) If the door cannot be locked or barricaded, lay on your back with your feet up against the door to use your body weight as a barricade.
-Get as low as possible, lay on the floor.
-Silence all electronic devices.
-Remain quiet. Remain calm.
-Dial 911, if possible, to alert police of location, physical description, and type of weapon used by shooter.
-If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.

TAKE ACTION
As a LAST RESORT and ONLY when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you to incapacitate him/her. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.

Caroline Dwulet December 17, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Are our schools actively doing these drills? And how often?? If they do it, it is rare! I have 2 kids at a CB middle school... And no lockdown drill has been done this year!! I also have children in elementary school... It's not done at my children's school either!!! So I ask?? Is this complacency??
BucksCountyMomandTeacher December 17, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I'm an elementary school teacher in a neighboring district. We practice lock down drills once a year, and there are usually flaws found. Missing keys, windows without shades, etc. We also need better door security in our schools. Front entrances are secured, but back doors are left wide open because of lack of air conditioning in warmer months, as well as the necessity of children/staff accessing trailer classrooms. As "random" as these tragedies are, something still needs to be done about securing schools and further preparing staff and students.
Caroline Dwulet December 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I agree..Also, the children should know what to do if they should need to act on their own, God forbid. Teachers and staff should feel confident that their safety and their students safety will be so without worry if the appropriate doors are locked, all windows with shades, ALL doors easily locked and secured. I have asked all my children who attend 3 CBSD schools...what the "lockdown" procedure is and how many times they practice.....I can assure you, I was not happy. The entrance security to the schools needs to be more than "re-evaluated"...it needs to be FIXED! I have received boiler plate emails claiming the schools are going over their security protocol and it is "updated" with the teachers and staff....but I not heard or read anything regarding drills and instruction. It concerns me. Let be more proactive people!
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