On January 22, Superintendent Mary Chesley met
with the chiefs and representatives of the four law enforcement agencies that
serve the Cherry Creek School District to discuss ideas and strategies to
enhance the district’s Comprehensive Safety and Security Plan.
“In the wake of the tragedy at
Sandy Hook Elementary School, we want to be sure that we are taking all the
right steps to ensure that our schools remain among the safest places for
children,” Chesley said. “We have received suggestions from our community, and we
are consulting with our local police agencies to help us make the best
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates,
Cherry Hills Village Police Chief Michelle Tovrea, Greenwood Village Police
Chief John A. Jackson and Patrol Commander Capt. Glenn Thompson of the Arapahoe
County Sheriff’s Office, along with other representatives of each department, came
together to talk about ideas the district has received to enhance safety and to
offer their best thinking.
“Everything is on the table,”
The law enforcement agencies will
begin their assessments by walking through each of the district’s 61 schools,
and reviewing each building’s current individual safety plan. Among the things
they will observe is the placement of the district’s nearly 1,400 surveillance
cameras for maximum effectiveness.
In November, voters approved a
$125 million bond issue which includes funds to upgrade and enhance the current
surveillance camera system.
Each of the agencies also said
that officers will increase their visibility in and around schools as much as
possible. Officers will be encouraged to drop in and visit schools between
their other calls and use school parking lots to write their reports. The
Cherry Creek School District will continue to partner with police agencies to
use schools on weekends and after hours for training exercises.
Currently, schools do monthly
fire drills and do “shelter in place,” Lockdown and Secured Perimeter/Lockout
drills twice a year. Evacuation drills also are required at all schools .
Once the results of the law
enforcement assessment of the current safety and security plans are known,
district officials will determine what additional steps need to be taken.
“The safety of our schools,
students and staff is always of the highest priority,” Chesley said. “We will
continually evaluate our safety and security plans to incorporate the best
thinking and practices available.”