How Would Pasco React in a School- Based Crisis?

"These events are rare but we plan for them regularly just the same," Pasco Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin says.

It's something parents would rather not think about. However, in light of, it's a topic that can hardly be ignored.   

While the likelihood of there being a school shooting in Pasco County is slim, the Pasco Sheriff's Office and the school district do have plans in place in the event of a crisis situation in a school.

“We cannot discuss specific plans but I assure you the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and the Pasco School District work extremely hard together and have crisis plans in place, " Pasco Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin said. "Those plans are reviewed and practiced on frequently."

The plans include "active shooter"  training to responding to weather-related events such as a tornados, thunderstorms or hurricanes.

"All Pasco Sheriff’s Office personnel have been trained on active shooter scenarios and School Resource Officer’s receive additional training from what a deputy receives," Tobin said. "The Pasco Sheriff’s Office also has plans and protocols in place so we can coordinate with the Pasco School District and we drill on these procedures on a regular basis."

What if it happened here?

In the event of a school-based crisis situation, the sheriff's office recommends that parents not rush to the school, Tobin said.

"Look at some of the pictures from (the Newtown School tragedy) and you see just how many first responders go to such an event," Tobin said. "Roads can quickly get blocked, impeding emergency personnel from getting to the scene."

The Pasco Sheriff's Office recommends parents have emergency contact information updated with the school district, then stay somewhere safe and by the phone.

"They will contact you and tell you where to go to be reunited with your child."  

In addition,"turn on the local news, as the sheriff’s office works closely with news media to get the word out to the public," Tobin said.

Tobin also recommends that parents "like" the Pasco Sheriff's Office Facebook page, as well as the school district's social media sites, because those mediums can be used to communicate important information, as well.

"These events are rare but we plan for them regularly just the same," Tobin said.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office and the Pasco School District also recently completed a two-year Readiness Emergency Grant through the U.S. Department of Education, Tobin said. The grant allowed the administrations from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and the Pasco School District the ability to update all of their crisis plans and crisis training.  

"Hopefully we will never need to use it, but we are prepared just in case," Tobin said.

Finally, Tobin said, be aware and proactive, when necessary.

"Look for warning signs, suspicious activity around a school. If a loved one makes a threat act on it, call 911," Tobin said.

Amy Daigrepont Calkowski December 15, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I am glad to hear that they are taking precautionary measures before something like this happens here. I hope they are telling our children to use their book bags and books to help shield their main organs as these are known to show gunshots down
Sandi December 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
We should make sure our schools have every cautionary and protective measure installed on each and every one of our elementary schools. Where should we get the money? How about not buying NEW POLICE CARS. Cant imagine what it costs to even oufit one of them with the lights and the computers and the high performance engines. Police cars are well taken care of, but we're always buying new. By the time we need police cars,' the horse has already left the barn' But heaven forbid, if we make our cops ride in a car that's a few years old. Come on, Budget People, Get a grip. What's it costing even for the graphics on the side????? PROTECT OUR CHILDREN properly, and we won't need as many police cars.
Sandi December 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Why is the likelihood of this happening in Pasco County 'SLIM'? The people of that community thoughy it was slim there as well! Are our lock-up laws better? It is not comforting, Keli, to minimize this situation for our area!!! It is ignorant journalism on your part. Check out our criminal database, and all the other problems Pasco County has and maybe you will feel safe, but I don't. We don't need 'plans in place in the event of a crisis situation. Our children need the best protection that is available. Why don't you do some reasearch and find out the difference in what we offer our children in school protection and what is available? That would be Journalism.Then maybe we've got something to think about and work with!! AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE! I'm tired of the 'after the horse has left the barn' mentality!!
Keli Sipperley December 19, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Hi Sandi, the assertion that the chances are slim was based on data from the CDC and information from the sheriff's office. I am very interested in talking to you about your thoughts on the differences in what is available and what is offered, though. Please call me at 813-244-9490 or email keli.sipperley@patch.com at your convenience. I look forward to speaking with you.
Sandi January 12, 2013 at 04:56 PM
This is Pasc County, and the chances were more slim in that community than here in Pasco County. How many people with crimes against children live here? Seems to me, that the database of criminals in this area with crimes against children proves otherwise. Sometimes it takes opening your eyes, and if you're not sure, don't say it. Statistics don't always tell the whole story. Statistics on gun permits in this area where children and others can get their hands on guns are very high. Look at education statistics for people who live in Pasco County. I can tell you this - Not too bright!. You minimized the situation in your article. Period. I pulled my advertising from the schhool news, because of that article. I won't pay to have parents lulled to sleep instead of being diligent. Have you read the comments on gun control? Now there's a statistic - too many crazy people owning guns. You insinuate that we are doing enough. We are NOT. We have laws to make our children go to school. Why don't we have police protection for our most vulnerable? Why are we looking at the chance of it happening to us as being slim???


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