Clay Center, KS- The Clay County Sheriff’s office, the Clay Center Police Department and USD 379 will hold a crisis training event at Lincoln Elementary School on Thursday July 28th at 12:30 and is expected to run at least an hour.
Clay County Sheriff Benniga, Clay Center Chief Robinson, and the Curriculum & Instruction Director for USD 379, Jaclyn Pfizenmaier, sat down with me to explain what this crisis training is for and how the school district participates in emergency planning meetings with the local agencies by showing them their crisis plans, reviewing the first aid kids, and making adjustments based on the feedback from the local law enforcement agencies.
Sheriff Benniga says it’s to test the response of local law enforcement, fire, and EMS services in the event of an emergency at the schools.
Pfizenmaier said they will also be testing their crisis plan and their team’s response.
With an application called “Stop It” it allows students to submit tips to any dangers.
Those tips get automatically submitted to the principals of the schools and if it’s during off duty hours or emergent, it will go to the county dispatchers.
Another app that will be used is called “911 Panic”. Pfizenmaier says this app puts the crisis plan and crisis team in connection with law enforcement.
The parents can connect the “Bark App” through their children’s e-mail address and more information will be sent out regarding the app at the beginning of the school year.
The training tomorrow will only take place at Lincoln Elementary School, but will eventually be done at all of the Clay County Schools.
This training is not new at the USD 379 facilities, but every so often they will touch up and refresh the training and re do it for the new staff.
Considering the recent failures of law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas, Sheriff Benniga wants residents to know that they are concerned about residents arriving at the scene if there was an emergency to arise.
Sheriff Benniga says that this is a pre-columbine tactic that has evolved and that post columbine tactics have migrated to what they use now, such as responding officers enter the building, locate the shooter, and stop the shooter before they use other tactics to help injured staff and students.
Additional safety measures have been made and more will continue to come to at the schools thanks to their capital outlay funds as well as Safe and Secure Schools Grant that was received for safety upgrades such as cameras, door access cards, panic buttons that can shut down the buildings and notify law enforcement.
If you hear radio traffic that may sound concerning, just remember, this is a drill and is not a real event.
Signs will also be posted in the area and they ask that the community not try to help or try to sit and watch the activity during this training.
If there were an emergency at the school, Chief Robinson said there are ways that the community can help support the safety plan.
Chief Robinson said that any armed civilian in the vicinity of an active emergency may be mistaken as a suspect, so it’s best to stay clear and not rush the school as this could overwhelm the law enforcement and could jeopardize not only the safety of the students and teachers inside, but also the officers trying to get in and take care of the situation.
Pfizenmaier stated that in the event of an emergency they will use the Alert Solutions text feature as well as KCLY to put information out regarding reunification and any other information they can release.
And above all else, if you see something, say something because sharing those details are helpful.
Janet Schnell covers state and local news for KFRM and KCLY. You can follow the KCLY or KFRM Facebook page for more stories.
KFRM covers news from across the state of Kansas, the Northern part of Oklahoma, and Southern part of Nebraska.
KCLY coverage area includes the nine counties of Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Marshall, Ottawa, Riley, Republic, and Washington.
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