Keeping students and staff safe is the number one priority of the Cobb County School District. In support of that goal, district leadership, along with members of Cobb’s own school police department, recently held a student safety town hall at Lassiter High School to inform the community about the steps the district is taking to maintain the safety of school campuses.
So parents could understand a little more about the men and women charged with keeping their children safe, some of the police officers in attendance shared their personal stories. For example, one was an Army Green Beret and a veteran police officer before joining the Cobb team. The others were also seasoned officers who had served in many roles as part of city and county police departments.
On average, members of the Cobb County School District Police Department have dedicated 26 years of their lives to relationship-building and protecting the community. In total, there are more than 1,690 years of combined experience in the department. That’s one of the traits that make the Cobb Schools police stand out—experience.
The Cobb County School District employs 66 police officers who are dedicated to the safety of each student and staff member in the district. One way they do that is by staying on top of the latest technology, like AlertPoint. Cobb was the first district in the state to test the new crisis management system, which gives each employee the ability to activate an emergency alert anywhere on a school campus.
As parents learned in the meeting, the goal is to have AlertPoint installed in all Cobb high schools before the end of the school year. The system is already installed in about 11 high schools, one middle school, and three elementary schools.
During the town hall, the officers discussed the use of unannounced Code Red drills to gather a “snapshot” of a school’s preparedness for a Code Red Lockdown, with a follow-on debriefing and discussion for administrators.
The security-focused officers also explained to parents in attendance how schools are evaluated on their internal security awareness and actions taken by staff and students to identify the suspicious person in school, who lack proper identification or purpose.
Parents at the town hall also learned that over 90 percent of Cobb schools have received training on how to respond to incidents involving severe bleeding. As part of the national Stop the Bleed program, staff members are taught how to apply and use a tourniquet to effectively respond to arterial bleeding or other severe bleeding caused by trauma.
Should a Code Red Lockdown happen at a school, the district leadership wants students to be prepared and understand what to do, just as they do during a fire drill. Cobb teachers have already had access to a district-created safety video. By the end of the year, separate instructional safety videos tailored for elementary students and middle and high school students will also be available.
In order to empower members of the school community to anonymously report threats, the Cobb officers announced the creation of a formal tip line, which will be available later this year. The “Hear Something, Say Something” tip line will be an extension of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” program.
As an additional security measure, an Emergency Management Specialist position was created in April 2018. This new position is dedicated to further enhancing the District’s emergency response planning and procedures.
Those in attendance heard about Cobb’s Emergency Management Procedures Flip Chart, which is given to leadership at each school. The chart serves as a reference guide on situations like lockdowns. The guidebook also includes recommendations, like teachers instructing from behind a closed and locked classroom door. This one best practice has shown, nationwide, to save lives during active shooter events.
The Cobb County School District officers are not only focused on campus safety, they also are concerned with helping at-risk students. “Concerned Cops” is a mentoring program for high school and middle school students at risk for effectively relating to authority figures.
“We believe the combined efforts of the police department and school administrators with the support of the superintendent’s office and the school board has resulted in our district having safe schools,” said CCSD Captain Wayne Pickett.
Watch video of Cobb’s Student Safety Town Hall here.
Learn more about the Cobb County School District’s commitment to safety on the district’s new Cobb Shield website.