Concern over safety coordination between police and schools in M - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Concern over safety coordination between police and schools in Montgomery County

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Montgomery County police and school officials are working closer together to coordinate response efforts in the wake of recent active shooter cases. It comes amid some concern that there may not have been a set plan in place.

But those concerns are being downplayed by police and a Montgomery County councilmember who says schools and police have to work as one coordinated unit to ensure more lives are not lost.

Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, Montgomery County police have been specially training officers on what to do. They have also equipped them with the necessary tools needed to get the job done.

Montgomery County Police Captain Robert Bolesta says the officers are given what is known as breacher backpacks. He says they contain equipment that "will allow officers to get through locked doors, pry open things, cut bolts and things of that nature so they can get to the threat."

Bolesta says they have also been sharing what they have learned with school officials. Training videos by Homeland Security and another by Auburn University show school staff and students what to do when faced with a gunman.

Montgomery County Council Vice President Craig Rice says it is important that police and schools work together. He says the effort has unwavering support from county council members because lives depend on it.

"Ultimately the school system is responsible for the safety of our children, and our police are responsible for the safety of our community, so we have to collaborate when it’s something like this that melds the two together,” he says.

He adds, "We will make sure that our officers continue to be trained; that our school system personnel have all the resources they need so we can protect our kids."

The issue will be discussed further at a county council meeting on Thursday.

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