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Vernon Officials to Meet Monday to Discuss Security in the Wake of Newtown Shootings

When asked if active shooting scenes are the new air raids, one official said yes.

Two weeks removed from a bomb squad-assisted search of a Rockville tenement after a killing spree in Wyoming, Vernon authorities on Friday fielded several calls from concerned residents over the school shooting incident in Newtown.

So Emergency Management Director Michael Purcaro was asked the question point-blank.

Are shootings the new air raids?

He flat-out said affirmative.

"From an emergency management perspective, we have to be prepared for things like this all the time," he said.

In a more focused effort, education and law enforcement officials are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the town's security initiatives.

Police Chief James Kenny said he wanted to assure Vernon residents - especially parents - that authorities have worked at measures to respond to and even thwart any potential act of violence.

Conway said similar things.

"l would like to reassure all of our families that we do have security measures in place at all of our school buildings and safety drills are conducted monthly," Conway said in a letter to parents and guardians on Friday. "Please know that personnel in each school have the right to prohibit entry to anyone and are authorized to call police if they feel that the safety and security of the school is compromised. I will be meeting with all of the administrators and representatives from the Vernon Police Department on Monday and We will be re-examining our safety and security procedures and practices.

"I Want you and your children to know that our schools in Vernon are safe environments."

Conway reached out personally to Newtown officials. She said the safety of children is the "top priority."

Monday's meeting is private, Kenny said.

Kenny said the training efforts to deal with such situations is constant.

"We have the training to respond to active shooter situations," he said, while adding the police department is always improving its skills.

Two weeks ago, Kenny said officers always shave to expect the worst when dealing with crimes with weapons, shootings and potential shootings. That's why he asked the Hartford Bob Squad to assist detectives in searching the room a 25-year-old man rented in a Rockville tenement before killing himself and two others in Wyoming.

"Past history dictates you have to be prepared for anything," he said.

The Vernon Community Network has created a page of information about how to handle children's questions concerning the school shootings.

To access it, go to www.1Vernon.org and click on the link.

Several residents gathered in Rockville onFriday night to reflect and hold a vigil to remember the victims.

john a December 15, 2012 at 03:04 AM
in the wake of the events of today are we truly safe , i think not but i,m glad to see school officials are being proactive , i,ve had my children go thu the vernon school system and now have a grandson also going to school in town , anything we can do as a community to protect our children is move in the right direction
Mark Kalina December 15, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Honestly, I think they need to move the meeting up to sometime this weekend, the sooner the better. Take advantage of the time before the schools resume session, would seem to be the most prudent course of action.
Stephanie Skivington December 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I would like to know what more can be done to protect the children/teachers/employees during times when "buzzing in" is not necessary. After school programs, fairs, open houses and holiday concerts do not require parents to get "bizzed in".
Emily December 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM
You, your children, your friends and relatives living here on planet Earth are never really safe. The universe is a violent, hostile place. You can put all the safety measures up that you can imagine and still something unforeseen may happen. The only real choice to live a sane and happy life is to be aware of your surroundings and try not to worry about every little thing, Put your trust in God or in whatever it is you believe in. Love your family and friends and be nice. You can never prevent someone from snapping or stopping a plane from crashing onto your house so. Just live love and make the best of each day.
cmmj December 15, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I noticed at Northeast school before school starts...doors opened unlocked and kids in front unsupervised....only a crossing guard....
Dottie Konarski December 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
A good example of the buzzing in system not always working is yesterday at Skinner Road School. A kind woman held the door open for us but I told her, "Thank you, but we have to be officially buzzed in." How easy for a person with bad intentions to enter! My daughter in law told us of our grandson (7 - lives in Indiana) coming home from school to tell her that they had a 'Code Red' drill that day. When she asked what a Code Red drill was he said that if a Code Red announcement came over the loud speaker they were supposed to run and hide because a bad person was in the building. We were both dismayed that young, innocent children had to be prepared for a 'bad person' in their school. Code Red drills are now as common as fire drills. We can only pray that the children never have to do more than practice this drill.
cmmj December 16, 2012 at 06:23 AM
I also have a concern about someone entering the school and kidnapping a child...
Bridget December 16, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I am also concerned about concerts, open houses, etc during school hours. Maybe the school needs a security guard at the door for these events.
Vernon Taxpayer December 16, 2012 at 05:50 PM
As I read some of the concerns of the security within our schools, I have questions. Since most of the schools I know you must be buzzed in, what other type of security procedures could we use? Obviously with the school shooting at Newtown the buzz in procedure did not work. What about a security guard? Would they be allowed to carry an automatic weapon? Would it really matter if some sick individual wanted to get in? I believe when we allow these individuals to be armed beyond what our Police Officers carry, this is the real concern. At this point I do believe we need to concern ourselves with the possibility of copy cats. This being said we must also keep in mind the effect this will have on our children. I think the meeting is a very good idea to discuss the concerns of the children and families. I have confidence in our Administration and Police Department that these concerns will be handled. As I read some of the concerns of the security within our schools, I have questions.
Vernon Taxpayer December 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Since most of the schools I know you must be buzzed in, what other type of security procedures could we use? Obviously with the school shooting at Newtown the buzz in procedure did not work. What about a security guard? Would they be allowed to carry an automatic weapon? Would it really matter if some sick individual wanted to get in? I believe when we allow these individuals to be armed beyond what our Police Officers carry, this is the real concern. At this point I do believe we need to concern ourselves with the possibility of copy cats. This being said we must also keep in mind the effect this will have on our children. I think the meeting is a very good idea to discuss the concerns of the children and families. I have confidence in our Administration and Police Department that these concerns will be handled.
Samantha Theriaque December 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Is this going to be mentioned within the elementary schools. My girls know nothing of this tragedy and I would rather keep it that way.They do not know that kids their age were killed nor any other details other than a lot of people were hurt that day. They need to feel safe while at school.
Mark Kalina December 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I dropped my son off to VCMS today and have a couple of serious concerns. One entrance where the drop off is - was open and no teacher there (or security), Another door was propped open and passing by another entrance there was no one there. Nor did I see any indication of any police presence. Considering what happened this past Friday, I am astounded more wasn't in place this morning. Yes, I understand you want to return to normalcy. Yet there are children, including my son, who did not want to go to school today. After seeing what appears to me to be the lack of preparation this morning, I can understand his apprehension. In all honesty I seriously considered turning the car around and letting him take the day off. Yet, I did not want to give into the evil and let it win. Needless to say I feel uneasy today.

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