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Let’s talk safety: police, schools have plans

by Katrina Smith

No one wants to be hurt and no one wants to be in danger. Sometimes, situations can arise that causes the safety of others to be violated.

What is safety? According to Webster’s dictionary, safety is freedom from harm or danger.

Humboldt Police Department

Police Chief, Reynard Buchanan shared ideas on how the community can remain safe even in those unsafe situations.

According to the crime grade online, “A crime occurs every 16 hours and 13 minutes (on average) in Humboldt. Your home is 300-percent more likely to be robbed with no home security system.”

Day in and day out, police officers patrol the city to make sure activities are safe for every citizen. In order to be effective, training has to take place. Officers are often pulled in various directions.

“Every officer has to attend the state’s academy,” said Chief Buchanan.  “At the academy, they establish standards on how to become a law enforcement officer.”

The training in which police officers complete consists of strategic tactics of defense including restraint, driving, firearms and tactical.

Defense tactics teaches the officer how to defend themselves,” said Buchanan. “When responding to calls, they must remember not only are they responding to protect the citizens but also themselves.”

“Restraining tactics teaches the officers how to properly take a suspect into custody and driving tactics teaches them how to skillfully drive at a high rate of speed under emergency situations without endangering the public,” Buchanan added.

“Firearms training consists of how to properly use firearms and tactical training is done yearly to help the officer refresh on current knowledge and other topics.”

HPD gives back to the youth, and supports student activities and all school functions. The police department has a school resource officer who monitors the campus activities throughout the day. The police officers often go into the schools to participate in reading and promote learning with the kids.

“We want the students to know that they can trust us,” said Buchanan. “We are here to help them.”

They also make stops at the library, the Boys & Girls Club, local daycares, summer camps and churches.

“There are some things that cannot be changed,” said Buchanan. “All we can do is move forward and control what we do now. I tell officers to treat others the way they want to be treated and to practice using de-escalation strategies by being empathetic and remaining calm.”

When a situation arises, whether emergency or non-emergency, anxiety tends to take over most people’s reaction. Any time there is something out of the norm, it causes a quick reaction and instantly causes someone to want to dial 911. Every situation a person encounters is important but some situations require a more important response to them.

When should 911 be dialed? Dial 911 when someone needs help right away due to an injury or because of immediate danger. If you see someone who has fallen out, something unattended on fire, or someone breaking and entering someone else’s home is an example when you should dial 911, the chief explained.

Call the non-emergency line when the help needed is not life threatening. For example, a non- emergency would be a crime or incident that has already happened with no emergency or minor traffic collisions that do not require an emergency response. No matter what the situation is, remain calm and make the best decision to help you and your communities stay safe.

Humboldt City Schools

In The Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children and six adult staff members.

These are a couple of incidents of active school shootings that have been seen and read about in the news across the world. This past week alone, there were three reports of “shooting threats” made in Broome County, Elko County and Oneida County School districts.

In West Tennessee, there have been no reports on active school shootings, but there have been active threats. Just recently on October 6, there was a threat made in West Carroll. This threat caused a large absence of students because of the fear of their safety.

In 2018, Humboldt High School received a threat via social media and an investigation did take place.

Humboldt City Schools, Viktor Horton gave a detailed snapshot on how safety is maintained and handled in Humboldt City Schools.

“Our schools have an emergency active plan for each school,” said Horton. “We have safety teams that review everything dealing with safety from fire, tornadoes and lockdowns. There has been no active threats made in the school system this year.”

According to a fact sheet produced by the Labor Occupational Health Program from The University of California, “The likelihood of experiencing an active shooter incident is low but when it happens, it is devastating.”

The safety teams meet with the Humboldt police and fire department chiefs to comply with safety regulations regularly. If the schools ever receive a threat, the local officials will be contacted and an investigation will be conducted.

If there is ever an active shooting case, the HCS has a plan that is actively reviewed to ensure everyone remains as safe as possible. They also have a trauma emergency plan that includes the students receiving counseling.

HCS is promoting a healthy atmosphere for the students by having them participate in conflict resolution activities as well as using proper etiquette techniques. The state requires drills to be performed once a year but HCS completes drills at least three times a year, according to Horton. They do drills three times a year to ensure every staff member and student is aware of what to do even when anxiety kicks in.

“Our goal is to keep everyone safe,” said Horton. “The consequences for those who pose threats, the police will be involved and the guilty party will be arrested.”

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