In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT last Friday, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said deputies would be increasing patrols at schools in our contract cities and the unincorporated areas of the county.
In addition to increased patrols, many junior high and high schools within the Orange County Sheriff Department's jurisdiction have a Text-A-Tip line that enables students to anonymously report any suspicious activity, bullying or possible threats.
The tips are sent directly to our School Resource Officers (SRO's), sworn deputies who have been assigned to schools. The SRO's respond to tips and requests from school administration. They also create relationships with students and provide a law enforcement presence on campus.
From the OC Register article "Shooting: Schools Grapple with Safety Measures": "Local school districts reported they were working full steam ahead Monday to disseminate information to parents about how schools are rehearsing and fine-tuning emergency protocols. Districts also said they were working to explain to parents how they work with law enforcement to assess potential threats, and how they were evaluating what else, if anything, could be done to improve safety.
"'Parents want to know that plans are in place, that we're not simply reacting to what happened in Connecticut," said Marcus Walton, a spokesman for Capistrano Unified, O.C.'s second largest school district. "We can't guarantee we can prevent a tragedy, but we do have procedures in place."
"Capistrano officials used Friday's mass shooting to remind school administrators to be vigilant about following district safety protocols, including ensuring every campus visitor signs in at the front office and that emergency drills take place as scheduled, Walton said.
"Students and staff also were being reminded to immediately report an individual who exhibits suspicious activity, including through the district's anonymous text-a-tip line (unique to each school) developed in cooperation with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Walton said."