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South Pasadena Police Reaffirms Committment to School Safety

Authorities and school officials have intricate plans in place for evacuation procedures.

SOUTH PASADENA (CNS) - In the aftermath of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, the police chief in South Pasadena today reaffirmed the preparation that city officials and the school district have undertaken should such an event occur in their small city.

"With the recently completed Joint Emergency Operations Plan (JEOP), plans and procedures are in place for such an event," said South Pasadena police chief Joseph Payne. "All campuses now have similar plans that are understood district-wide."

Contained in those plans, Payne said, are maps and building locations that are quickly accessible and understood to mitigate confusion that would exist at the outset.

He said school district officials understand that information dispatchers and first-responders will need immediately so that rescue efforts are not delayed.

"At the first hint of trouble, teachers know to institute lockdown and communications procedures and subsequent evacuations routes and locations as necessary," Payne said.

South Pasadena police officers recently participated in a large-scale mutual aid exercise with an active-shooter scenario and trained with school police departments on their respective campuses to enhance the reality of school grounds.

"With lessons learned from the Columbine School shooting, law enforcement knows that immediate interdiction efforts are critical," Payne said. "That is not to say that police will rush in without a plan in place. Our tactics and equipment are designed for immediate response and deployment."

"Although there are never any assurances that we can stop such an event before it starts," he said. "The training and preparations we have taken will help lessen the danger such events pose to our children."

Jen Hutton Heger December 16, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I drove by Marengo Elementary after the shooting around 2:00 to see if there was an increased police presence & just to make sure the kids were safe. I was shocked to see a gate open that was next to the multi-purpose room that would give anyone free access to the school. That gate needs to closed at all times!!
Henk Friezer December 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
even before all this happened, SPPD had a police presence at local schools for years .Although South Pas is not immune from violent incidents, security is much tighter and it is a safer haven for school kids than the communities that surround it. If my kids were younger, SPUSD would be my choice for peace of mind and a great education!
Harry Gerst December 17, 2012 at 06:38 PM
We live in a very safe city with a police force that does a great job. The problem is not with the PD but the actual safety of our schools. When my younger daughter went to Monterey Hills (7th gr. now), I was the chair of the School Site Council for the last 5/6 years she was at MHS. We pushed to have the campus closed. It is a wide open school site. But because of a very weak superintendent, at the time, and some weak board memebers, fensing has been on hold for at least six years. Recently, I was informed that the plans are with the state for approval, but, as a former principal of an elementary school, the fense could have gone up a long time ago separate from the other work needed. AV and Marengo have closed campuses!
Donna Evans (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 07:31 PM
@Harry I talked to Supt. Shapiro about fences on Friday. Here is what he said http://patch.com/A-0vVj.
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