The shooting in Connecticut is definitely sending a shock wave through police departments throughout the Poconos, especially to school security officials.
Thousands of students attend both Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg Area School Districts. Both districts have their own school security forces.
The men who lead those departments said they’re needed, especially in light of the shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut.
“The latest training we’ve had, we learned that we cannot wait. Not for the SWAT team and we cannot wait for the local police. We have to be there and take care of whatever we can until they get there,” said Chief Frederick Mill of the East Stroudsburg Police Department.
The shooting in Connecticut also has the departments looking into how they would react if a shooting were to take place in the school district they protect.
“It makes us all rethink our policies and procedures and our lock down procedures, our security measures. We all worry about that copy cat type of stuff,” said Captain Keith Albert of the Stroudsburg School Safety Department.
There are 15 Stroudsburg School Police Officers patrolling inside and outside the junior high and the eight other schools in the district.
In the event of a shooting, their procedure calls for going into lock down, going after the shooter and contacting the local police.
It’s similar to what the East Stroudsburg School Police Department is prepared to do, in the event of a gunman getting onto school property and inside a school.
“The officers themselves are going to confront the situation, the teachers, principals, they need to know what to do in a situation like that,” said Chief Mill.
Chief Mill said the role of teachers and staff is to lock classroom doors and keep everyone away from the windows.
However, if students and teachers are near an exit, they should get out.
East Stroudsburg Area School District consists of 10 school buildings. Each school building has several surveillance video cameras both outside the building and inside the building. All the video captured is closely monitored by the police department in the administrative building and in real-time.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen here, but we’re here to make sure if it does happen, we can be the first line of defense to protect the staff and the students,” said Chief Mill.
In late December, the Stroud Area Regional Police plan to join the East Stroudsburg School Police for training. In that training, they’ll go through an “Active School Shooter Scenario.”
The training has been planned for a while and is done on a yearly basis to make sure everyone is on the same page in the event a gunmen finds a way inside the schools.