Safety committee begins tours of county schools
by Rachel Davis
Mar 05, 2013 | 3099 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Safety and Security Committee recently toured Sumiton Elementary/Middle School, Dora High School and T.S. Boyd Elementary School to make safety recommendations to the administrators. The committee will visit each school in the county before the end of the school year. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
The Walker County Safety and Security Committee recently toured Sumiton Elementary/Middle School, Dora High School and T.S. Boyd Elementary School to make safety recommendations to the administrators. The committee will visit each school in the county before the end of the school year. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
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Every school in Walker County will be receiving a visit from the newly-formed Walker County Safety and Security Committee before the end of the school year. The committee will tour each school looking for ways to make the school safer for the students, teachers and faculty.

These safety measures include information on response from the school and local authorities in case of a school shooting, as well as updating plans for other emergencies such as severe storms, fire or kidnapping. This means considering every possible scenario and developing a plan that the schools can train their employees and students to follow. Every entrance, exit and area in each school must be considered from a variety of angles. For instance, the things that might be effective to keep someone out of the school could also be a detriment to the students trying to escape in case of fire.

In order to consider all the options, the diverse safety committee consists of Ray Capps, from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office; T.J. Burnett and Scott Karr, Sumiton Police chief and assistant chief; John Duchock, Dora Police Chief; J.C. Poe, Walker County Coroner and Bevill State Community College Police Chief; Phillip Freeman, deputy state fire marshal; and Glenda Wilson and Darrel Waid of the Walker County Board of Education.

“I'm pleased to be selected to work along side of the Walker County Board of Education and other agencies with the intent to suppress violent school incidents,” Duchock said. “Every child deserves a chance for a safe learning environment regardless of school size or district.  This joint effort provides ideas for policymakers to make changes where needed. One of my first issues to address two years ago was school incident preplanning and safety. It continues to be an ongoing priority as crime and society changes.”

The team toured Sumiton Elementary/Middle School, Dora High School and T.S. Boyd Elementary School last week, looking for issues and making recommendations to the administrators.

Capps had high praise for the school officials, who he said were well prepared and thinking ahead to protect the students in any event.

He also praised the law enforcement in the area, saying that Dora and Sumiton police had already taken steps to ensure their schools were protected.

“The City of Sumiton is committed to improving the safety and security of all students,” Karr said. “This coordinated effort vastly elevates the level of preparedness through the groups’ expertise and sharing of best practices.”

Many local law enforcement officials and educators are attending the two-day Virtual Alabama School Safety Summit at the Renaissance Convention Center in Montgomery, which wraps up today. The summit is focused on teaching the participants to use Virtual Alabama’s services as well as other safety technology, understand and deal with behavioral issues in schools, and developing comprehensive emergency plans for the schools.

Bentley: Alabama police

hold school safety answers

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Monday he believes the ultimate solution to the school safety issue rests with law enforcement.

The governor on Monday addressed the opening session of a two-day seminar at a Montgomery hotel on school safety. Bentley, legislators and education officials have been discussing how to keep schools safe since the December shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.

A number of proposals have been made to deal with the school safety issue, but Bentley says he wants law enforcement officers to have a say in the final solution.

Bentley said a solution that involves law enforcement doesn’t mean there would have to be a police officer in every school.

The governor said it is going to take people working together to come up with a solution to the problem.

Much of the discussion at the conference Monday and Tuesday would concern a computer program known as “Virtual Alabama,” which allows emergency workers responding to a call at a school, hospital or other similar facility to be able to access information and maps about a facility, such as where hazardous materials are located.

“We’re here to discuss this technology that can save lives,” the governor said.

Alabama’s Homeland Security Director and senior law enforcement adviser Spencer Collier said a purpose of the conference is that “there’s nothing more important to us than school safety.”