Pottsgrove, Police Broaden Emergency Planning Efforts

Pottsgrove, Township Police Broaden Emergency PlanningPOTTSTOWN PA – In an intense effort to ensure student safety, Pottsgrove School District administrators and the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department are working together – well in advance of a need – on ways to deal with emergency situations that might prompt a school building lock-down, Superintendent Shellie Feola said Tuesday (Feb. 26, 2013).

Months before the Newtown CT school shootings made headlines last December, the district and the police department’s school resource officer, Wil James, were involved in revising an all-hazards plans for Pottsgrove’s five schools, three of which lie within the township. Now their collaboration is expanding to include security training and preparation in related areas.

“The training goes well beyond what to do in a lock-down,” Feola said, and reaches other staff members by discussing and “employing appropriate techniques” and equipment intended to speed and enhance communications. She talked about the efforts in response to a question from the audience attending the Board of School Directors’ meeting at the Kauffman Road district office.

On Monday (March 4, 2013), Feola, James, district Director of Human Resources Leticia Rodriguez and Police Chief Michael Foltz all are scheduled to attend an 8-hour school safety seminar being offered at DeSales University in Center Valley PA by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the office of Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin.

They’ll be in selected and prominent company, Foltz said Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 27) by e-mail. The seminar is limited to law enforcement personnel, first responders, and school administrators, and features psychologist Dr. Timothy Ring as well as experts from state troopers in Pennsylvania and Virginia, the state Emergency Management Agency, and the state’s Center For Safe Schools.

Foltz said he’s hopeful the seminar “will provide insight” as the district and department “move forward with our local planning and response procedures.”

On the seminar agenda, he added, is an overview of the Virginia Tech shooting incident that occurred during April 2007 and lessons learned from it, discussion of all-hazard school safety planning, strategies for parental reunification, the psychology of a violent offender, and the role of risk and vulnerability assessment teams.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Feb. 26 meeting):

 

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