MAYSVILLE, Ky. - A sheriff in northeastern Kentucky says he plans to increase the presence of law enforcement offers at local schools beginning in January.
The Ledger Independent reports Mason County Sheriff Patrick Boggs made the announcement on the department's Facebook page.
Boggs said that deputies will be assigned on a rotating basis to spend some time daily at both private and public schools.
He said after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., he sought permission from school administrators in Mason County to initiate the program. He says the initiative does more than provide an increased presence — it will "get the students familiar with officers and the officers familiar with the schools" should an emergency arise.
Mason County High School Principal Steve Appelman said school safety has taken on a new significance since the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook, and he has had discussions with the sheriff's office and the police department on how to make classrooms safer for students, parents, teachers and administrators.
"I welcome any presence (of law enforcement) that we could have," Appelman said.
He said principals and administrators in the district have begun re-evaluating emergency procedures in case of a possible school shooting. Although changes would be inconvenient, he says the procedures would be safer. The district is currently evaluating items including safe places and accessibility to buildings. He said planning for potential changes will get under way when school resumes next month.
"We're not doing something just to do it, we want to make it as safe as possible for our students and parents," Appelman said.
Straub Elementary Principal Robert Moore said he thinks the increased presence of law enforcement will make students and parents more comfortable, and it would help students identify officers as a "good guy."
Boggs said he had approached the school board with the idea of assigning a deputy to schools on a full-time basis before the Sandy Hook shooting, but officials were still trying to work out the details.
In the aftermath of the shooting, he decided to go forward with a different plan to increase the presence of law enforcement at local schools.
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