We are pleased to give a “Golden Eagle Award” of excellence to the Redwood City schools in California who have announced a new safety plan to prevent and react to campus violence in the wake of several recent shootings throughout the county, according to the city’s police and fire departments.
The Redwood City Police Department actually began devising the new safety strategy several weeks prior to the string of violence and its need solidified even more greatly after, according to the announcement.
The plan is a multi-phased approach that includes collaborative training of schools staff and a large-scale preparedness exercise involving the departments, school staff and other involved agencies. No specific date for the exercise has been announced but officials expect to do so within the year.
The safety plan’s other components include:
• On-site safety lectures to school staff by experts on how to immediately respond to campus threats while awaiting police response;
• A drill by school staff of those lessons;
• Refining existing emergency response contingency plans and training levels to boost effective response;
• Develop synchronized response plans.
The Redwood City Police Department is also focusing on protection of middle and elementary school students — the youngest and most defenseless children, according to the announcement — by reviewing security plans and making recommendations at all school sites, having day shift patrol officers meet with the administrators of each school within their beats to establish good working relationships, conducting walk-throughs of each school to familiarize themselves with the layout and surrounding areas and, when work permits, stop by each elementary school in their beats at least once during each school day.
The plan is in keeping with the advice we share with our clients at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates Behavioral Public Relations LLC:
1. The importance of being inclusive and having all the stakeholders and impacted parties involved in the planning process on the front-end so they have the necessary buy-in on the back end.
2. The need to collaborate – co-labor – instead of just cooperating – “playing nice”. Collaboration requires all parties to stay involved until the best plan possible can be prepared and agreed upon.
3. Announcing the plan to the community, students, staff and all interested stakeholders was appropriately accomplished and helps the community understand the commitments the college has to its students, faculty and staff.
4. Finally, the announcement states a “drill” will be conducted and we would encourage the developers of the plan to hold regular table-top exercises (drills) using all the key principles outlined in the development and implementation of table-top exercises, which can be found in our manual Campus Tabletop Exercises 2013 – Tools, Tips and Techniques available at Paper-Clip.com. Developers and interested parties also can obtain free checklists at our website: ldarrylarmstrong.com