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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Increased patrols planned at local elementary schools
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Sheriff Bill Overton

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office will increase patrols around local elementary schools as students return to schools today.

"Parents and teachers can expect to see more police cars as students return to school from winter break," said Sgt. Phillip Young.

"Due to the horrific event that occurred in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, many school systems and law enforcement agencies will be reevaluating their crisis response plans," Young said.

The sheriff's office is planning meetings with the school division to discuss security topics and how better to protect local schools, he added.

School Superintendent Mark Church said the schools will conduct a "comprehensive review" of safety procedures and practices as students return to class.

The school system already maintains "procedures, operations and assignments to prevent, manage and respond to critical events and emergencies," Church said.

"Every school conducts drills to prepare for building evacuation and lockdown," he said. "All schools are equipped with cameras and automatic door locking systems."

Church said it is impossible to plan for every situation, but plans are in place "that help us in identified threats."

"Our children are our greatest asset," said Sheriff Bill Overton. "They should feel safe when they are at school, and it is our responsibility as law enforcement, teachers and parents to do everything we can to protect them."

On Dec. 17, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the creation of a task force leading educators, public safety experts, local leaders and legislators to review school safety, including established policies and procedures, crisis and emergency management plans, threat assessment protocols, as well as to share best practices and identify resource challenges.

"This task force will also provide legislative and budget proposals to the governor to address any critical gaps or needs associated with safety and security in our schools and on our campuses," McDonnell said.

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