Ala. agency hosting summit to discuss safety needs, concerns at state’s schools
by Rachel Davis
Feb 26, 2014 | 892 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This week, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is hosting the fourth annual Virtual Alabama School Safety Summit to allow law enforcement officials and educators to discuss safety needs and concerns as well as solutions to issues.

The summit includes law enforcement officers throughout the state, as well as educators from kindergarten through university level. The two-day event is being held in Montgomery.

Bevill State Police Chief J.C. Poe and Sumiton Assistant Police Chief Scott Karr are the only local attendees.

“This School Safety Summit provides valuable resources and training to help prevent and respond to any violence involving our community's most valuable resource — our students,” Poe said. “It will take a coordinated effort between educators and law enforcement to recognize and identify potential threats in order to decrease the possibility of tragic events.”

According to a press release from the group, there has been a 150 percent increase in active shooter incidents and more than 34 percent of those attacks occurred in schools.

The release also said that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley had asked the ALEA group to create a strategic response plan to deal with those active shooter situations, including a safe school system and a law enforcement response program.

Part of the plans include making school plans available online to first responders so they know the layout of the school for use in shooting situations, as well as disaster situations. That program, Virtual Alabama, was the first of its kind and has been nationally recognized and used as a template for other states.

According to officials, the average shooting incident in schools lasts less than 12 minutes. That means the traditional response plan of arriving at the school, setting up a perimeter and waiting for SWAT is not a feasible response.

“Our goal is to train every local and state officer in Alabama to effectively respond, assess, and act using tactics and methodology in the ALERRT [Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Reponse Training] program,” said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier.