Wheaton prioritizes student safety

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Camera system, ‘Intruder on Campus’ drill with law enforcement

The Wheaton school district and local law enforcement came together to make sure student safety is ensured by hosting an “Intruder on Campus” drill and updating security cameras being used by the school district.

Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, said cameras have been installed in the school for more than 14 years.

“We had a few cameras that just were not working,” he said. “So we have been replacing them, some with even better cameras.”

Massey said it is not a new camera system being installed, but the school is simply updating the existing cameras.

“We had a few black squares, and we were able to find some cameras to fit into the system we already have,” he said. “Seven or eight years ago, we put in a new system, and over time, some of those cameras went out.”

According to Massey, the camera system is back up to speed.

“There has been more discussion about the camera systems lately, since the ‘Intruder on Campus’ drill,” he said.

Massey said still, the cameras do not cover every inch of the campus.

“We try to find where problematic areas are and put cameras in those spots,” he said. “Our system has slots for a couple more cameras, if we were to find more areas that are becoming problematic.”

Massey said the school has drills frequently, and the “Intruder on Campus” drill over Christmas break was the second or third lock-down type drill this school year.

“However, that drill was the first this year that involved law enforcement,” he said. “We partnered with Wheaton city police and the Barry County Sheriff’s Office on this one.”

Massey said he and Wheaton Police Chief Clint Danforth had been talking together since the summer to try to coordinate a time for the drill.

“We had to work out when everyone could come together, and when a good time for the drill would be,” he said. “We had decided that Friday after Christmas break was a good time.”

Massey said the “Intruder on Campus” drill was done with only faculty and officers.

“We don’t do any type of drill that involve law enforcement with students in the building,” he said. “After the drill, there was some debriefing between the school and law enforcement.”

According to Massey, a lot of that discussion was about things that were found by both parties that could be worked on.

“They created different scenarios for us, and we were able to see how we would handle those approaches,” he said. “That becomes our job from that point to look at the things we can do differently and try to schedule another drill.”

Massey said that is the best way for the school to learn and solve any issues.

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