Town, schools, and police department discuss safety after Connecticut tragedy
“Schools have anticipated events happening in their schools but I don’t think anyone was expecting anything of this magnitude in an elementary school,” said Cheektowaga Police Captain Jim Speyer.
The Cheektowaga Police Department met with all four Cheektowaga school districts Monday morning to discuss security and safety procedures. Captain Speyer said that after Friday’s horrific incident in Newtown, Connecticut the department wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page.
“We went around to all the superintendents and spoke to them about security issues. We wanted to make sure that everyone is on board with whatever policy that each school has for shooters, especially elementary schools. The security and safety of our kids is definitely our number one priority,” he said.
Each Cheektowaga school keeps its doors locked at all times and the only way to enter is to be buzzed in. The schools also have cameras set up that the police department dispatch is able to see.
“You have to be buzzed in the door. You are on camera, we see who you are, and whether we buzz you in or not, depends upon looking at you and asking questions,” said Cheektowaga Central School District Superintendent, Dennis Kane. “The central question to my knowledge is no one has shot their way into a school before and I don’t know how you prevent that.”
Captain Speyer said this is exactly why the schools need to have as many layers of protection as they can to prevent situations like this from happening. The police department encouraged the superintendents to re-evaluate their plans so that staff, faculty, and students are specifically trained for these types of situations.
“We reassured them that we’re all in it together,” said Speyer. “We actually had a police officer at each one of the schools for a few hours to show people that were are there for them.”
A tearful Town of Cheektowaga councilmember, Jim Rogowski also had a few words to say at Monday’s board meeting regarding the senseless shooting stating, “Enough is enough.”
“As an educator, the senseless crimes that go on like that are uncalled for and unnecessary. No one should go to school fearful. Children go to school to learn and be educated and no one should ever be killed in a school again,” said Rogowski.
“We need to do some thought on what we can do to prepare and my heart goes out to the family members that lost their lives in Connecticut this week. It is sad and it is a tragedy and we need to work to stop this from ever happening again in American schools.”
At the closing of the meeting, the town board dedicated a moment of silence to those children and teachers lost in the shooting.