|Updated: 12/21/2012 10:08 am
||Published: 12/20/2012 3:40 pm
The state of Oklahoma is taking a big step toward increasing school security.
The state is forming a task force or commission to take a better look at security in our schools following a mass shooting in Connecticut. It will involve Homeland Security, OSBI, local police, local school personnel and mental health officials.
The purpose of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security will be to study a number of school security factors and to provide suggestions and possible legislative recommendations for the 2013 legislative session.
In Tulsa, local campus police are shouldering the heavy responsibility of keeping students safe. Officer Stephen Driscoll has been a member of the TPS campus police for 3 years, but he’s been a police officer for much longer. It’s a big responsibility and one that he doesn’t take lightly. One of his biggest weapons that he has is the trust of his students.
"I have developed a real good repoire and trust with a lot of students who are able to come and they feel confident coming in and telling me something out of the ordinary,” says Driscoll.
That trust is vital in preventing an attack on other students or teachers.
“That really makes my job a lot easier and security's job easier, because when we hear that we are able to react and intervene before something serious happens,” he says.
In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut where 20 elementary children were killed, TPS is looking to beef up security at area schools.
"There's more that needs to be done and there's more that should be done, and it's causing us to spend a lot of time, as well we should on safety and security in the schools,” says TPS Superintendent, Dr. Keith Ballard.
The goal is to push up a timeline for all TPS schools to have security cameras.
"Rather than trying to do 15 schools per year until we were done in 2015 - we are hoping we can push that timeline up,” says TPS Chief of Police, Gary Rudick.
Until that happens, Officer Driscoll and 22 others continue to monitor the halls making sure children like yours are as safe as they can be. Tulsa Public Schools has lost over 22 million dollars over the past three years due to budget shortfalls. It would like to get some of that back from the state to implement even more security measures.
Some initial ideas to be discussed by the state task force will include current school safety measures, local control and local empowerment and mental health.