Catawba County News
Sheriff & School Preparedness Release
Published: February 28, 2018
CATAWBA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND CATAWBA COUNTY SCHOOLS CRISIS PREPAREDNESS STATEMENT
The Catawba County School system and the Catawba County Sheriff's Office are deeply saddened by the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida. As parents, educators, and law enforcement officers, we are extremely troubled by this horrific event. The Sheriff’s Office has been actively training the faculty and staff members for many years. Hickory Daily Record featured a story on our training last year on March 16, 2017 at Bunker Hill High School. The Sheriff’s Office currently conducts scenario based training with all schools; approximately half of the school district is trained each year and the remaining are trained the following year. All training sessions are led by the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit, and School Resource Officers.
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said, “This training has been ongoing through the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit for many years. Due to current research approximately 206 shooting incidents in the U.S. school system has occurred since 2000 and 122 of them involved either students or former students; the Sheriff’s Office does not conduct its training with students in the building.” The Catawba County School system and the Sheriff's Office are working together to implement multiple safety procedures throughout the district. We continue to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to the safety of our students and staff. We prepare, practice, and reflect on our safety and security measures each day. We are constantly evaluating situations as they occur to examine our own best practices.
Recommended best practices in the event of a possible active shooter:
- If you see something, say something
- Run, evacuate the area
- Hide, shelter in place and barricade
- Fight, and over whelm the suspect; don’t be a victim
The following is a list of safety protocols that are currently in place:
- On all incidents no matter how small that are reported to us, they are investigated immediately
- School Resource Officers are assigned to all High Schools and Middle Schools
- Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office and municipal police make regular school visits and respond to our elementary sites
- Active shooter drills are periodically conducted with faculty and staff in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office and municipal police
- Sheriff’s Office conducts annual safety checks to help Catawba County Schools identify vulnerable areas
- Surveillance cameras are located inside and outside of the school buildings and on all of our buses
- Intercom systems have been installed at each school to enter every school, and visitor are required to enter the front entrance
- Panic alarms are in each building
- Safety plans are in place for each school and are developed in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office; are updated regularly
- Tip line is set in place at each school
Sheriff Reid said, “The goal of this training is to instruct our school staff regarding reasonable measures of safety when confronting a variety of threats and emergencies they may face.” According to NC G.S. 115c-105.27, school safety plans are closed to the public record and are kept confidential.
We would like to remind parents, students, faculty, and staff of their responsibility to report threats or suspicious behaviors to the appropriate authorities promptly; "If you see something, say something." Parents, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to report suspicious activity to their school's administration or a trusted adult at school. Passing this information to school administration and/or law enforcement will enable investigators to determine the validity of the information, help minimize the spread of false information, and allow for an appropriate follow-up.
For immediate assistance in reporting a suspected school threat, call the Catawba County Sheriff's Office at 828-464-5241 or dial 911. You may also access the anonymous tip line located on the Catawba County Schools website or each school's webpage. Suspected threats include obvious, known, suspicious and/or threatening social media activity. The safety of our students and employees is our number one priority. We would appreciate your help to ensure this.