Southwest hires intruder program contractor

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Program focuses on teaching, training in specific buildings

The Southwest school district is taking extra steps to ensure school safety by hiring a company that specifically deals with intruder situations.

According to Bob Walker, Southwest superintendent, the school district hired American Mobile Training Solutions of Walnut Shade, Ark., to provide to provide professional development training for teachers and staff along with a building analysis and plan in the event of an emergency situation. The training took place from 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 25 during a professional development work day.

"They'll do a walk-through and help analyze your facilities and help plan what they feel like would be a good routine, and they'll also provide professional development to employees," Walker said. "This is what these folks do for a living.

"The program is designed to build on your foundation and offers a lot of teaching. The second part of training will be some actual working with staff members in their specific buildings. We've done some intruder drills this year, but we've been looking at this option to be more specific and improve upon what we already have."

The training also gave school staff insight into how an event might transpire and how to respond, Walker said.

"Those situations are very chaotic, so you have to be sensitive to reacting in the correct way," he said. "We certainly hope and pray we never have to use it in a real life situation, but things have changed considerably."

The cost of the program to the school district is $3,150. Walker said purchasing the program was not mandatory, but conducting state drills are, and while paying for additional expenditures like these due to the current state of society can be a financial burden on schools, he believes it's worth it to ensure safety.

"It's sad that it's state-mandated to conduct drills now," he said. "[American Mobile Training Solutions] has been in other schools and has a good track record, so we're going to get them involved in our school. It makes us more efficient."

Walker said the district will continue to have Barry County law enforcement conduct state-mandated drills.

"Barry County law enforcement did a great job, and we want to continue to have them involved in our procedures and drills," he said.

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