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Canfield Schools/Police hold community awareness meeting

April 26, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Canfield School District along with the police and fire departments, held a community meeting on April 27 to update residents, parents and officials regarding school security. Following a half hour presentation, questions were fielded from the audience.

Canfield Superintendent Alex Geordan opened the meeting and addressed what the district has done in the past five years to deal with school safety. He pointed out the buzzer system, video cameras, 2-way radio system, and key FOB entry system the school has installed. At the high school, the new public address system now can alert students who are outside as well as inside the building.

"What's next," Geordan said. "We don't stop. We have to continually get better. We feel we are moving in the right direction."

Article Photos

Photo Special to the Town Crier
Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci addressed a packed house at the Canfield High School cafeteria on April 17 during a community awareness meeting regarding school safety.

Police Chief Chuck Colucci spoke second and made it clear what his department's mission was.

"Our number one goal is the safety of our children," he said. "It's a priority."

He said a second resource officer is close to going on board in the middle school. The plan is to have the person in place by April 30.

He added that students brought the problem of the resource officer leaving the building to direct traffic for the buses. Colucci said the resource officers will be staying in the building and the traffic patrols will handle the bus release.

Following his talk, moderator Mike Case took questions that were written down ahead of time. One question involved having one officer in each school building. Colucci said that would be ideal, but for now, he is comfortable with the plan that has been worked out.

City Councilwoman Christine Oliver said her husband is in law enforcement for 21 years and she feels the safety of the elementary kids are important.

"Safety doesn't discriminate with ages," she said. "I feel we should have an officer in every school building."

The question of metal detectors came up and Goerdan said he did call several Northeast Ohio schools that were using them and they all wanted to take them out.

Questions continued to be raised regarding equipment needed for safer schools. Items like exterior cameras, bullet proof glass, better buzz-in systems and upgraded locking devices on the doors.

"Everything is on the table and we will continue to evaluate all ideas," he said.

He mentioned that recently he was informed of an old coal chute at CVMS that was not secured and could be a way into the school. That issue was being addressed. He said having extra eyes spotting items like that helps make the schools more secure.

Training was a big issue and several questions were asked about the topic. Geordan said all the staff have taken training and know what to do. On the police side, Colucci said his officers are constantly training and regularly train in the school on the weekend when no one is there.

"I want them to know the school layout," he said.

The final main topic seemed to flow around the mental state of students. Geordan said his staff is trained to spot mental and emotional problems.

"Our staff knows what to look for," he said.

While the meeting did have some emotional moments, Geordan and Colucci made it clear the safety of the children comes first, and paving the way towards that safety is an on-going challenge that is being met.



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