Law enforcement takes lead on school security drill

HAMILTON – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and members of the Amory Police Department conducted a crisis drill at Hamilton High School on Jan. 24.
“We will be demonstrating how to respond to an intruder on school property and go over a plan on how to lock the school down,” said Sheriff Cecil Cantrell before the drills resumed.

EMILY TUBB/MONROE JOURNALCRISIS DRILL – Tony Coxey, Sam Mitchell, Billy Richey, Sheriff Cantrell and John Bishop lead the charge during a recent crisis drill at Hamilton.  The Monroe County Sheriff's Office and members of the Amory Police Department participated in the drill designed to help administrators and teachers know how to react to an emergency situation on school grounds.

EMILY TUBB/MONROE JOURNAL
CRISIS DRILL – Tony Coxey, Sam Mitchell, Billy Richey, Sheriff Cantrell and John Bishop lead the charge during a recent crisis drill at Hamilton. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Amory Police Department participated in the drill designed to help administrators and teachers know how to react to an emergency situation on school grounds.

The demonstration included blank shots being fired.
“An officer will shoot blanks so that teachers know what that sound is and what to do if they ever hear it,” said Cantrell.
No students were on campus at the time of the drill, which was held in response to a call for increased school security in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Both city and county schools have enforced stricter visitor procedures and other preventative measures.
“When a visitor comes in they are expected to get a badge. We have also checked our door locks and our communication systems. Anything that is not working properly is being replaced,” said Hamilton High School principal Tim Dickerson.
Amory City Schools are currently discussing different security options such as installing key pads and cameras on all entrances and exits.
According to Cantrell, more police presence is needed in schools.
“I am considering putting an officer in every school in Monroe County. Aberdeen already has one and Amory needs one. What it comes down to is funding,” Cantrell said.
Monroe County Superintendent Scott Cantrell stated that there are officers at three of the county attendance centers and that, throughout the day, several other officers patrol the area.
“We need more school security badly. That’s my plan and I’m trying to get something done,” Cantrell said.
The MCSO plans to continue the crisis training in all the schools throughout the county.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.