As a way to increase school safety and security, Shawnee police officers will begin conducting daily, random patrols at local schools, including walking through each elementary building at least once daily.
Marc Moore, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools, said Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz approached him about adding Shawnee schools to the day shift officer’s regular patrols.
“I thought it was a really good idea,” Moore said.
Moore said he especially appreciated the added safety this could bring to the elementary schools. The patrols will include walk-throughs, which could ward off future incidents, he added.
Moore encouraged parents not to worry if they see a police car outside their child’s school.
“Generally it’s just them doing patrols,” he said.
While there are already full-time police officers at both the middle school and high school every day, Frantz said they wanted to provide extra security for the elementary sites as well.
Frantz said discussions on school safety have been ongoing since the mass shooting in Connecticut, where 20 schoolchildren and six adults died at the hands of lone gunman.
Jenny Colvin, who is a parent of a student at Sequoyah Elementary, is a teacher in another district. She’s happy about the extra patrols in Shawnee.
“I don’t have a problem with it — it’s just fine,” she said. “It does make me feel safer knowing there’s extra protection…I think it’s good it’s going to be a different times.”
Officers assigned to patrols in the districts where there are elementary schools will make at least one random stop at the school each day, including a drive-through patrol and well as walking through the school building itself.
“It shows a presence,” the chief said, and will allow all officers, during rotation patrols in various districts around town, to familiarize themselves with each school building, as well as provide a chance to connect with staff.
Officers will walk through the hallways and cafeterias each day, the chief said.
Because the patrols will be done at different times daily, Frantz wants parents to be aware, not alarmed.
“Don’t be surprised if you see a police car at random times,” he said.
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Moore added that he is very appreciative for the Shawnee Police Department helping to keep schools safe.