Davis wants uniform protocol at schools

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:00 am

In school, children are trained on how to react in the event of fires, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis wants children to be prepared in the event of an active shooter in schools, too.

Davis and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office organized and held a Standard Response Protocol seminar for school administrators, law enforcement and the general public on Sept. 25.

“This is the first step,” Davis said. “It’s evident we haven’t seen the last school shooting.”

More than 400 people attended the event at the Ralston Arena.

Representatives from 61 schools were in attendance, including representatives from the Bellevue, Gretna, Omaha, Papillion-La Vista, Ralston and Springfield Platteview school districts.

The seminar featured John-Michael Keyes, executive director of the “I Love U Guys” Foundation.

In 2006, Keyes’ daughter, Emily, was shot and killed by a gunman at her Colorado high school. That led Keyes to develop a Standard Response Protocol.

Standard Response Protocol has four actions—lockout, for threats outside school; lockdown, for threats inside school; evacuation and shelter.

The plan was developed after studying many school safety plans and seeing that schools and law enforcement didn’t use the same language.

“In a crisis, ‘Bart Simpson is in the building’ doesn’t convey a sense of urgency,” Keyes said.

Developing a Standard Response Protocol is a process and takes time.

“The biggest thing is participation,” Keyes said. “Talk to your kids. Talk to your schools.”

If an active shooter were in a Sarpy County school, first-responders would come from all over the area.

“With a multiple school jurisdiction area and multiple responders, it’s great if you know everyone is on the same page, following the same practices and procedures,” Davis said.

Davis’ short-term goal of the seminar was for teachers and administrators to take pieces of what they learned at the event and implement them in classrooms right away. His long-term goal is to develop a tri-county Standard Response Protocol within the next year.

Lt. Kevin Griger spoke about what law enforcement is currently trained to do in the event of an active school shooter.

Griger said everyone is trained to respond in a different way.

He also addressed logistical issues such as how to get law enforcement into the school after it has been locked down, what information law enforcement needs from schools about the situation, and how schools are announcing lockdowns and locking classroom doors.

Griger then led a panel of local law enforcement in discussion.

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