NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officials are beginning a top-to-bottom review of security measures at all Norwalk schools and will be identifying short-term and long-term changes that can be made.
Police have already increased the random patrols that they conduct at schools and will likely continue that through the end of the year, Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said at a press conference Wednesday with Mayor Richard Moccia, Fire Chief Denis McCarthy and school officials. Police will assess each school’s security measures and suggest improvements, as well as conduct drills with teachers and emergency responders.
School officials will meet twice a month with members of the city’s Emergency Management Office to outline specific goals for an updated emergency plan that can be put in place in case of an event like last month’s shooting in Newtown , McCarthy said.
“There is an emergency plan right now and until we make changes that will be our plan for events that require the activation of the schools’ crisis teams or the city’s emergency team,” McCarthy said. The last time the emergency plan went through an overhaul was in 2001, though McCarthy said his office has routinely worked with the superintendent’s office to make changes to it over the years.
Moccia said that the proposed Board of Education budget for next year includes $100,000 for updates to security. If there are any improvements that are identified before that budget cycle begins in July, they will be made and reimbursed later.
“We’re not going to put a price or timetable on kids’ safety. If something is immediately identifiable and it’s fixable, we’ll fix it,” he said.
Moccia said the city would not likely be able to place a police officer in each of the schools without receiving money from the state or federal government. There is a school resource officer in each of the three high schools, as well as an officer who teaches D.A.R.E. and moves throughout the school system, Kulhawik said. There are talks with the Board of Education of increasing the D.A.R.E. program.
The updated emergency plan will likely take a few months to complete and will not only include plans for violent emergencies like a school shooter, but also for natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados.