School Safety & Security – Parents Role

Dear Parents,

The safety of your children is of paramount concern to law enforcement officers and school administrators throughout the county. Due to events such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, Lancaster, and others, we in law enforcement have been diligent in training not only our officers, but also school personnel in how to respond to these incidents. You as parents have unfortunately become all too familiar with the terms Lockdown and Shelter in Place.

A Lockdown is primarily used when there is an imminent threat in the school or on school property. School staff and students practice these procedures on a regular basis and have become very proficient in their implementation. It is intended to greatly reduce or eliminate the potential for harm to students.

A Shelter in Place is instituted for various reasons and not always emergent in nature. It can be used for something as simple as a bear spotted on school property, police activity in close proximity to, but with no immediate threat to the school, hazardous weather conditions, etc. It generally restricts all outside activities. During a shelter in place, classes continue as normal but no one is permitted to enter or leave the building. There are however circumstances when access and egress could be allowed on a limited basis provided that law enforcement and school administrators agree that it would not pose a danger to staff or students.

These procedures are designed to keep your children as safe as possible. As parents, we understand your desire to respond to the school to ensure your child’s safety, but please understand that coming to the school could actually endanger your child and hinder the law enforcement response. Therefore, if you become aware of a Lockdown, Shelter in Place or other safety action/drill at your child’s school, we ask that you refrain from responding to or calling the school until you are notified that the situation is under control. We also ask that you not call your child’s cell phone, as in a lockdown situation this could give away their location. These situations can be very fluid and information early on can be sketchy. We will release accurate information as soon as practical to both the school administrators and the public.

Once again, your cooperation with law enforcement and school officials is essential to your child’s safety.


Richard T. Burke, – Warren County Prosecutor
Chief Dennis Riley, Ret. – Former President of Warren County Chiefs Association