St. Charles Police, District 303 Team Up for School Safety
Half of the department underwent rapid deployment training in the old Kaneland Middle School on the day before the Sandy Hook School Rampage in Connecticut; the rest of the department undergoes training Thursday.
St. Charles and Community Unit School District 303 officials on Wednesday assured residents the two agencies have been and will continue to work together to ensure the safety of the students at local schools.
The announcement came the same day the St. Charles Police Department met with members of the media to explain half the department’s officers would be undergoing a rapid deployment training exercise on Thursday at the old Kaneland Middle School in Maple Park. Police Chief Jim Lamkin said the training exercise had been planned long before a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday, murdering 20 children and six adults before taking his own life.
In fact, Lamkin said, half the department had undergone the rapid deployment training on Thursday, the day before the Sandy Hook School tragedy. The horrific shooting has raised questions across the nation about school security, which St. Charles Patch saw readily evidence Sunday evening when it posed the questions, “how concerned are you about your child's safety at school? Do you perceive weaknesses in District 303's plan for dealing with such violence?”
A release issued Wednesday by the city states that the St. Charles Police Department and Community Unit School District 303 have fielded calls from concerned parents asking if precautions were in place should a similar event unfold in St. Charles.
City officials pointed out that over the years, the police department has forged several partnerships with District 303 to increase security at district buildings in St. Charles. “Our uniformed officers are continually on patrol in their beats and are available for immediate response,” states the release, which goes on to spell out rhat police are giving extra attention to schools. Security measures, the release points out, include:
- School resource officers are assigned inside both high schools.
- The police department and School District 303 have joined to work on disaster planning.
- Active shooter/rapid response training is held by the police department annually.
- Lockdown drills and security assessments are provided by the police department to every school.
- Safety plans have been developed with the Kane County Regional Office of Education to standardize plans throughout our county. All tactical plans are then reviewed by members of the Kane County SWAT Team, of which St. Charles police officers are members.
- Tactical pre-plans are kept in each St. Charles police squad car.
- School staff train with local law enforcement for disasters and have tactical resources on hand.
- School response plans are reviewed by security consultants through the Kane County Regional Office of Education.
“The most important thing our community needs to know is that District 303 and the St. Charles Police Department work closely on several issues, especially the safety and security of our schools,” said District 303 Superintendent Dr. Don Schlomann. “We coordinate our efforts and communicate constantly to make certain we are prepared.”
“The coordinated efforts of the police department and school district are focused on having safety and security measures in place to keep the children safe in our schools,” said Chief Lamkin. “We follow extensive protocols at the school, city and county level to ensure security and the proper response to emergency situations. The police department conducts situation-based training routinely that helps keep personnel exposed to real life events and be better prepared to respond if needed.”
“St. Charles is a close-knit community,” said Mayor Donald DeWitte. “And that extends to the working relationship between the city, its police department, and District 303. Our police department and emergency response teams will continue to work with the school district on proactive preventive actions, and should it ever be necessary, advanced emergency response.”
- Dec, 17, 2012: District 303 Plans Changes After Newtown Tragedy
- Dec, 17, 2012: After Newtown: District 303 Parents Worry About School Safety