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12/16/2012 6:01:00 AM
Kingman cops train to deal with active school shooters
Jacks: Safety, awareness regular topics of discussion with students
A Kingman Police Department vehicle sits in front of Kingman Middle School Friday in an attempt to help alleviate parent, staff and student fears. The officer was inside the school.
A Kingman Police Department vehicle sits in front of Kingman Middle School Friday in an attempt to help alleviate parent, staff and student fears. The officer was inside the school.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter

Americans watched - with pain in their eyes and a mixture of fear and sadness in their hearts - the news coming out of Connecticut Friday, learning the horrific details of what's being called one of the worst school shootings in the country's history.

The death toll continued to rise throughout the day, and more than half of the victims were young students at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. And though Kingman sits thousands of miles away from what's being described as a peaceful town, it's hard for parents to not ask themselves: "How safe are my children?"

"We talk to students and administration about safety and awareness regularly," said Kingman Unified School District Superintendent Roger Jacks. "We want our students and staff to be alert and vigilant and to watch out for strange people on campus."

That's one of the reasons the district has a uniform policy, Jacks said. It makes it easier to identify strangers on campus.

"Students have been really good about bringing strangers or someone acting suspicious to the administration's attention," he said. "We encourage that type of behavior."

Jacks was unaware of any parents taking their children out of school in response to Friday's news.

Additionally, Jacks said district staff receives emergency training in conjunction with area law enforcement and the fire departments every summer before the start of school. First responders also have at their disposal diagrams of each school in the county, complete with access points and the location of major utility lines.

There's a major reliance on local first responders in emergency situations at local schools. Jacks said there is a strong relationship between the various entities and everyone is committed to the same thing: school safety.

Kingman Academy of Learning District Administrator Susan Chan agrees, saying that the communication between school resource officers and school staff is good.

"We have to have common sense and rely on local law enforcement," she said.

Each KAOL school has a safety plan, and the district regularly coordinates safety drills, including those that deal with school lockdown scenarios, she said.

"It's a good thing law enforcement is not more than five to 10 minutes away when we need them," Chan said.

Both Jacks and Chan are not against reaching out to parents and students should concerns about the two districts' emergency plans come into question.

Also, the Kingman Police Department and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office increased their presence at local schools in order to help alleviate parent fears.

"I sent MCSO deputies to every school that's in an unincorporated part of the county," said Sheriff Tom Sheahan.

When they weren't out on a call Friday, KPD officers showed up at Kingman schools repeatedly throughout the day, said KPD Capt. Rusty Cooper.

Both MCSO and KPD train their law enforcement personnel how to deal with active shooter situations.

As the occurrence of active-shooter situations has increased, the training for dealing with them has changed, Cooper said. In the past, law enforcement would wait for backup prior to entering one of these situations. Now they're trained to aggressively enter these situations to locate and neutralize the threat, whether they're alone, with a partner or a group.

"You have to go in," Sheahan said. "We're obligated to do whatever's needed to save someone's life."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: joker wilde

@donna shadow.
More often than not, a newspaper is a reflection of the community. Need more be said?

Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012
Article comment by: It's Good To Be Alive

@ Living to be free -and a few others - I agree with nearly everything you wrote. School personnel who are willing to conceal carry firearms to protect our children, and are trained to do so on an annnual basis, are the best first onsite security our children have at schools. I believe they have already been screened before they are hired. Next, I like someone else's idea that vets can conceal carry and voluntarily patrol our schools in pairs in addition to our roving police resource officers. The vets would, of course, need to first be screened and approved by both the Veteran's Hospital mental department physian and the KPD. There should be only one entrance to the school at which there is a pair of armed security guards and which should first lead past the Office security window. That entry should have a surveillance camera posted that sends it's "footage" both into the Office and into a rear security office or teacher's break room, or all three. Installation of a good alarm system which announces simultaneously to each room when there is a threat and need for an immediate lockdown. I believe the weapons should be concealed, rather than locked up, because locking them up defeats the purpose of protecting anyone in the flurry of an urgent need. Living ..., You brought up several good points. I think you and Editor Thurlow's minds were somewhat in sync. I think it is imperative for us to be able to shoot back when we are on site and someone shoots at our children, because we have to protect any more people from being murdered What I'm not understanding is how the comments here about school jackets related to school shooters?

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Last of the Excuses

@ Stop Finding Excuses - Reduce Firearms = Reduction in Deaths

Yes, ban all the guns. Not one citizen will be legal to carry a gun. Then those nutballs will just steal the guns from the cops and use them on the defenseless citizens. The citizens will all be dead before the cops can get to the scene..So then, the cops will simply draw their chalk lines around the bodies. That should wrap it up nicely.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Stop Finding Excuses - Reduce Firearms = Reduction in Deaths

Amazing guns are the problem - plain and simple. The same week as the Sandy Hook shooting was a knife attack at a school in China that wounded over 20 students. NONE DIED. Yes, nutballs are out there but the easy availability of firearms present a much more fatal result.

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Article comment by: Fumbling Fingers

@ non lethal man stopper

ANY pro-active weapon is better than nothing at all

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: non lethal man stopper

I read a very interesting suggestion off Yahoo. A teacher working in the inner city had been subjected to times when a weapon would have been needed. She didn't want anything lethal.

Her solution. A can of RAID flying wasp killer. It shoots over 20 feet in an accurate stream. It causes temporary blindness, sever swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing.

Its not lethal to humans and will keep a perp on the ground blinded, gasping for their next breath until the Police arrive.

I thought what a great idea. I urge all teachers to consider this excellence idea from one of their own on the front line.

We have painfully been shown that no child of any age is out of bounds for a crazed shooter. I only wish the brave principle would have had a can of Raid when making her lunge at evil.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: Have to agree with no name

@ I Disagree.........Mr. Williams at the Lee Williams High School told me that they could wear any jacket as long as they could verify they were wearing a school shirt underneath. The point i was trying to make is that if they were required to wear the school jacket and the schools would ENFORCE this policy it would be easy to identify each student if there last name was required to be put on the back of jacket in LARGE BOLD PRINT all professional sports due it, so why not the school, also would help with students taking someone elses jacket as its any easy mistake to make since all the jackets are the the way i did ask the principals at all 3 schools and all had the same answer.........

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: J J

@logic -Also, going along with your weak argument on abortion somehow being involved here, i'd like to dissect your "more guns is the solution" argument.

First, I'm a gun owner.

Second - The gun-ownership in this country is at or near total suturation. Nearly every person in this country that wants a gun now has one. Not everyone wants one, and many people will never own one. So you can't simply say "give more people guns" because not everyone wants to carry or own a gun. In fact, tens of millions of people won't ever want or own a gun. You can't just flip a switch and make teachers carry guns. They already have a difficult job to do. They don't want to be armed guards on top of it. Ask most any teacher, and they will tell you the same.

Further, if more guns would lead to less crime, then why is America not the safest place in the world, with 300 million guns? That's an average of almost one gun per person in America. And further yet, we can also bring in the capital punishment thing here: If capital punishment were a deterrent, criminals would stop murdering people in capital punishment states wouldn't they? In a twist of irony, there are more murders in states WITH the death penalty.

Moreover, the truth is that it’s extremely difficult for anyone, let alone a lightly trained and inexperienced civilian, to effectively respond to a shooter. The entire episode can take a matter of seconds and your body is fighting against you: Under extreme stress, reaction time slows, heart rate increases and fine motor skills deteriorate. Police train to build muscle memory that can overcome this reaction, but the training wears off after only a few months if not kept up.

W/C 300

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: That's Right

@ KUSD mom

I couldn't agree more!

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Logic is the key

Based on your theory, there are more babies killed by abortion than hand guns. How many billions of dollars do you think is spent on abortions? Why not place an additional tax on abortions to be diverted to school officers?
@KUSD Mom, I totally agree. It is not the guns that are the problem, it seems to be the mental state of the individual who commits the crimes. Law abiding citizens will obey laws, criminals and mentally ill individuals will not, therefore, stricter guns laws would not solve the problem.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

Mental illness. The profiler's job to
collect information about Mom's
behavior, emotions and reasons for divorce. If the adolescent had lived with his Dad, were he socially better adjusted, emotionally stable ? Was the guy
educated by parents or computer
games & TV ?
Should a school become fortress-
like ? And in consequence, the
school bus, too ?

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: kusd mom

I have lived here for over 2 yrs. The school district I came from required all middle and high schools to have metal detectors at the entrance. This stopped the thugs from bringing in weapons to the school. All students were required to WEAR their student id badges while on school property. The uniform thing isn't going to stop anybody...afterall ANYBODY can run over to Lees and buy a tshirt and jacket. I dropped my child off at WCMS this morning and the gates were wide open to the outside play area, kids running around all over the place and not a cop in sight. I did not feel my kid was safe, even after the recorded call I got from Supt. Jacks on sunday night. What if some crazed kid had brought a gun to school. There was no way of knowing it until he pulled it out on 4 or 5 hundred kids. Just not safe over there for our kids.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: KUSD Mom

Just my two cents - the teachers and staff at Manzanita are outstanding and I have no doubt they would put their life on the line for my child. That being said, I'd feel a lot safer if they (teachers & staff) were given the option to carry their own personal safety weapon at school.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: I Disagree

@ Have to agree with no name

"they all wear whatever jacket they want when i asked the 3 different schools if its ok they said sure as long as we can verify they have a school shirt on underneath"

I don't know who you asked but I have three kids and they are allowed to wear any jacket they want as long as it is worn "UNDERNEATH" the school jacket. Try asking the Principal or the Asst.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Have to agree with no name

The school uniform policy is a JOKE ! I have 4 children in the school district.......they all wear whatever jacket they want when i asked the 3 different schools if its ok they said sure as long as we can verify they have a school shirt on underneath.......Don't bother telling me to buy school Jackets as i have bought many of them only for the kids to tell me someone took it while i was playing basketball,volleyball etc. All of the jackets are identicial.....I do however think it would help if the school required that the jackets had to have the childs LAST NAME IN BIG BOLD PRINT ON THE BACK so us parents didn't have to keep rebuying school jackets........I doubt the kids would want to wear a jacket with someone elses name on it.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Interesting idea but seems like over 100 law enforcement arrived a bit to late to help in the most recent case, a method of security to slow down the intruder, shooter till the swat arrives seems like a good idea! Bullet proof glass, armored bullet proof locks, security guard armed, gun port in front entrance way for said security guard, bullet proof doors to classrooms, armored bullet proof locks and a system to warn teachers and staff to lock down immediately into classroooms!

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: M M

I received a call from the Principal of KHS on Sunday Afternoon and he said a former student of KHS had made threats against KHS on his facebook page . The threats were suppose to be carried out today ( Monday )

.He said the person had been apprehended by Police . I don't know if this was just one person or if he had friends to carrry this out at the school . There is no way in hell i will be sending my son to KHS today .

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Dave Coop

Susan Chan said, "It's a good thing law enforcement is not more than five to 10 minutes away when we need them."

5 to 10 minutes is an extremely long time when people are being killed left and right. You also have to add in the time it takes someone to realize what's going on and dial 911 (which is longer than you'd think). And, you also have add in the time it takes police to locate the madman. The amount of time Susan Chan is comfortable with is no different than the time it took the Newtown murderer to do his killings. Don't get me wrong 5 to 10 minutes is as fast as police response can get. It may save us from a death toll of 30 or more. But that amount of time is not going to save us from what happened in CT.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Dan Jones

I applaud law enforcement for their proactive actions. We are faced with the question of how we protect the Constitutional rights of citizens to bear arms and the right to liberty and happiness. Since sick minds seek out the weakest of Society to carry out their evil deeds we must take quick, costly but reasonable measures. Secure the schools better and drastically change the laws that allow innocent people to seek help for the mentally ill and troubled people.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Living To Be Free

My neighbor says:

The shooter at the Connecticut schoolyard seems to be another sick individual within our society. Instead of restricting law abiding citizens with red tape and gun laws that cannot possibly prevent unstable people from acquiring guns, individual responsiblity is the key!
Preventing or limiting injury and loss of life can be accomplished by having trained adults on the scene. Janitors, school bus driver's, kitchen workers, teachers, etc., should be willing, armed and ready to respond to imminent danger. The most effective solution is to stop the carnage before it escalates to a grander scale. Laws are only respected by those who abide by them, not by people who, for whatever reasons, become lawbreakers. The most effective solution to a terrible circumstance is to SHOOT BACK! NOW! Often times, law enforcement is on the scene after the shooting has ended. You cannot expect laws or authorities to protect citizens 24-7. People have a duty to be responsive for the safety of children as well as their own and others. Responsibility must remain with those on the immediate scene. The action must be taken to stop the threat NOW . . . SHOOT, and terminate the threat. Firearms training and awareness of our surroundings will be more effective in saving lives than passing additional laws that continue to be impotent !!!
As to the reasons why, and how things go awry, can be debated endlessly and may never be answered by the "experts". In the meantime, take responsible action ... shoot back!

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Just Saying

This is NOT about guns, it is about mental illness.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Very Misleading

" death toll continued to rise throughout the day, and more than half of the victims were young students"

What a misleading and deceptive statement, anyone watching the reports knew that a majority of the victims were students.

Additionally, one police vehicle parked at one of the "ten" schools we have in and around Kingman does not equate into safety. I would have to say every school in Kingman is not secure during school hours. Anyone can walk into the main entrance, nobody is there to stop them. The school in Conn "had" secure access, he still got in. I would bet that every door on our schools during school hours is unlocked with free access to any nut who chooses to enter.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: donna Shadow *******************

Tragic as it is. This has been all over the internet and tv news since it happened. Why didn't our great presidents re-election fill an entire paper but a story about childrens deaths do? This paper doesn't make any sense.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Promoting Safety For Our Children

I realize that it would be dangerous for the law enforcement to act under these new training guidelines, but that IS a part of what they were hired to do --- protect the public. Better yet, in my opinion, but the question of 'How will we afford it', is to hire (screened and highly trained) armed security guards to be onsite at the schools during school hours. It would not take away from the usual police protection it would provide a few more jobs it would provide a quicker response which would likely result in less tragedy it would add to the public sense of safety and it would alleviate some of the knee-jerk support for private citizen gun control. A more economical route, would be to support trained admin and teachers volunteering to be armed and to quickly respond to urgent situations that threaten our children.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: J J

There is some $55 Billion spent on guns and ammo each year. If we were to divert (not add) .02% of each purchases tax dollars to the hiring and placing of two uniformed officers at each school in America, we would create jobs and completely change the landscape of future possible school attacks.

The first person a gunman would see is a uniformed officer with a gun of his own. If the gunman somehow lived through that, he'd likely face a second officer within seconds. It would take a miracle for him to get through that alive. And backup would already be on the way. This would save countless lives, maybe even completely stopping these terrible acts at schools.

Many schools, even in kingman, have officers on site during school hours so this isn't some far fetched thing.

It would be good for everyone and have a net effect of "zero" on us gun enthusiasts.

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