February 7, 2013
By: Brian Levy
From the Perspective of a School Police Officer
This week I conducted my first school lockdown since the Sandy Hook tragedy. As I was on my way to this code red lockdown, many thoughts were racing through my head. As I was navigating my way through traffic with my lights and sirens blasting, I was thinking about my daughter and how scared she would be in this type of situation. I could not wait to get to the school to rescue these kids.
Upon my arrival, I met with the school administrator who had placed the school on an immediate lockdown. The information I had received from dispatch was that there was a subject that had just committed a robbery in the surrounding community and had been seen on school grounds. The school administrator confirmed that the subject was on school grounds and did not know his whereabouts. At this point we did not know whether the subject was on school grounds or had fled. My goal was to confront the criminal and make sure our students and staff members were safe.
We needed to go room to room to verify the subject was not hiding in a classroom. My observations were much different now, post Sandy Hook. It was
apparent to me that all of the schools teachers had their own, well thought out, safety plans for this type of situation. All of the classroom doors were locked, but what we found on the inside of the classrooms was pure creativity.
One of the first rooms we entered, we could not find anyone. On our way out of the room, we checked the bathroom door and located several children along with two school teachers tucked into a small bathroom. I remember the warm air which escaped when the door was opened. We could see the relief in everyone’s facial expressions when they saw it was the “good guys”. The children were visibly upset and the teachers appeared stressed. We assured everyone that they would be alright then we moved on to the next classroom.
In another classroom, the teachers had built a wall of tables and chairs so that we were unable to enter or see into the classroom. Initially, we were unable to locate any occupants in the room, but eventually the teachers popped up with, what appeared to be, wood 2×4’s ready for a fight.
All of the classrooms we entered, we observed creative, caring, brave and compassionate teachers. The children were just as remarkable. We were cheered and given high fives. We made sure to embrace the children and let the staff know that they did a remarkable job. On several occasions throughout our room to room search, I got the chills because what we were doing was very real. What we, school police officers, do is not a game. We endure intense trainings for these types of situations. Our goal is to confront a dangerous criminal, turning their attention toward us, so that we may end the situation. We are there to protect the most vulnerable of our community and we take this very seriously. It is situations like these that remind me that this is why I have chosen this career.
The subject was later apprehended a block north of the school and the school lockdown was lifted. Everyone was safe!
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