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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Massacre at elementary school prompts local safety awareness

  • In light of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut that left 27 dead, officials in Shawnee are looking at their safety and lockdown procedures as a precautionary measure.
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    In light of the elementary school shooting in Connecticut that left 27 dead, officials in Shawnee are looking at their safety and lockdown procedures as a precautionary measure.
     
    Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent Marc Moore said Friday all schools in the district would be looking over lockdown procedures to ensure they are current. Moore said every Shawnee school practices two lockdown drills per year.
     
    Safety measures are in place at the Shawnee Early Childhood Center (SECC), as well as the four elementary schools and Shawnee Middle School, which have only one open entrance. The other doors around the school are kept locked.
     
    The SECC requires visitors to be buzzed in or know a code before the front door can be unlocked. The elementary schools have similar systems with visitors entering through the office, Moore said.
     
    Shawnee High School has different policies as students have classes in different buildings there, but their lockdown procedures do address open door issues, Moore said.
     
    Following Friday’s massacre, Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz said several businesses and schools from across the community requested meetings with police to review their facility’s plans, which is ongoing.
     
    Local police officers train on active shooter scenarios every other year, the chief said.
     
    “We just went through active shooter training this past summer under the new Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Program, “ the chief said. “The goal of the ALERRT course is to aid police officers, specifically the first law enforcement responders on scene, in their ability to safely and effectively respond to, address, and stop an active shooter.”
     
    Situations in ALERRT training are approached in standardized ways so officers from different agencies will be able to work together regardless of who or what agency arrives on scene first, the chief said.
     
    “Most all of the Pottawatomie County law enforcement agencies have had some or most of their personnel go through this ALERRT training,” Frantz said. “Shawnee P.D., with the help of the Shawnee Police Foundation, has been working to equip our officers with rifles, tactical vests and ballistic helmets to be able to effectively respond and confront an active shooter situation.”
     
    Of the 27 people killed at the Connecticut school shooting Friday, 20 were children and the other seven were adults, including the 20-year-old suspected shooter, Adam Lanza.
    A law enforcement official said that the suspect in the Connecticut school shootings killed his mother at their home Friday and then drove his mother's car to the school where he went on a deadly rampage.
    Page 2 of 2 - Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, was a teacher at the school, said the law enforcement official.
    Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Adam Lanza's older brother, Ryan, 24, of Hoboken, N.J., was questioned by law enforcement in New Jersey and was reported to be extremely cooperative, said a second law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation. Ryan Lanza is not believed to have any involvement and is not under arrest or in custody, but investigators were still searching his computers and phone records, an official said.
    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they official were not authorized to speak publicly about the developing investigation, according to the Associated Press.
    The first official said Adam Lanza is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to those officials, three guns were found at the scene — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols — and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school. The two pistols were recovered from inside the school.
    While the images and stories evolving from the mass shooting continue to emerge, Moore said anyone with questions or concerns about school safety in Shawnee Schools is encouraged to contact their child’s principal, Any suspicious activity should be reported to the principal and police, he said.
    A parent notification system is in place in Shawnee Schools, in case of an emergency, Moore said.
     
    “It’s a mass calling system,” he said.
     
    Counseling also is available for students at all Shawnee Public Schools. For parents, tips for talking with their students about what has happened is available on the school district’s website.
     
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
     

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