The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department released this statement on Feb. 21.
In light of recent events in Parkland, Florida, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has reviewed its school safety procedures, evaluated our preparedness and the Sheriff continues to encourage the public to “see something, say something.”
Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr. reminds the public that every school in Putnam County has Emergency Response Plans on file at our agency. Our School Resource Officers (SROs) have helped the school administration draft those plans to ensure that they comply with New York State standards.
Most importantly, we have trained Deputy Sheriff School Resource Officers in all five school districts’ high schools, middle schools and one elementary school. Two districts have additional armed Special Patrol Officers in their elementary schools.
We feel that the School Resource Officer program is the best preventative measure for not only handling a violent school incident but for addressing many other problems that can affect our youth. A deputy sheriff at a school gives students and staff someone to interact with and share concerns. These deputies have training specific to working in a school setting and recognizing a threat before it’s carried out.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has worked and trained with administrations from each of our school districts on how to manage a mass-casualty incident using the State Incident Command System. Police officers from the New York State Police, Carmel Police and Kent Police assist our deputies in participating in lockdown drills. These drills help instill sound tactics for students and teachers.
Sheriff Langley points out that every sworn officer at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department is certified in Active Shooter Response training. Understanding that any school incident would hail police from every agency around, the department cross trains with surrounding agencies so all responding units will have the same tactics.
It’s important to note that the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has been training our members since 2009 in this specific type of active-shooter situation. Our tactics have evolved through the years as current best practices are brought back to our members through our in-house instructors. Our supervisors and command staff have received training on school shootings and mass critical incidents.
We are proud to be in a partnership with our school districts encouraging the safest environment for our children to learn and come home safe to their families.
Our office has made available to the public and our school districts, free training on Workplace Violence, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) and Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE). We have also participated, with surrounding agencies throughout the state, in the See Something, Say Something campaign and remind all citizens to report any and all suspicious activity to local law enforcement agencies.