NILES -- The Berrien County Sheriff's Department met with firefighters, local police, and school administrators, Wednesday, to talk about ways to improve guidelines for lockdowns and emergency response, following the school shooting in Connecticut.
“There’s always a way to look at policies and procedures and see if they can be improved. I’m sure that’s going to be going on the rest of the school year,” said Sgt. Ron Bush, with the Berrien County Sheriff's Department, “but I think the process that’s in place in Michigan is a very good system.”
Schools in the county perform lock-down exercises twice a year, where students practice hiding, keeping quiet, and locking classroom doors.
Richard Weigel, superintendent of Niles Community Schools, said he suggested to the group that perhaps they should do those drills three or four times a year, to give principles and staff more training, and reinforce emergency procedures for kids.
Weigel also said he learned that on some district buildings not all of the exterior doors are numbered, making it more difficult for first responders to figure out where, specifically, they should enter during an urgent situation.
According to Bush, the sheriff’s department is looking for ways to do a better job of keeping track of students after an emergency.
For example, if a crisis were to happen during a passing period -- students would be all over the building, not just in their classrooms.
Police want to find a good way to count everyone quickly and relay that information to parents.
“They want to make sure that all of the students are accounted for to make sure that no one is missed or forgotten,” said Bush.