Chief Assures Public Schools Are Safe

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SPARKS, Nev.-- Monday's incident could have been so much worse, but thanks to procedures that are already in place, fatailities were kept to a minimum.

Wednesday afternoon, KOLO 8 got a look at what some of those procedures are.

"If you look at it, yes our schools are safe," said Chief Mike Mieras with the Washoe County Schools Police Department.

Mieras says in general, schools are one of the safest places for a kid to be. He adds Washoe schools have additional security in place to ensure that.

"We attempt to make our schools the safest place we possibly can," said Mieras.

Most schools are fenced all the way around; that means during school hours the only way you can get in is through the front door. Beyond that is another set of doors that are always locked. Receptionists have a button that allows only approved people to gain access to the main body of the school; it's called a single point of entry.

"We do have measures in place; we have had some ongoing measures to make our schools safer, some fencing. We have had some lock changes in some of our older schools so teachers didn't have to go our in the hallway to lock the door; they can lock them from the inside," said Mieras.

That comes in handy during a lockdown. Teachers can seal their students off from a threat quickly.

Just off to the side of the doors there's a packet of information. It's a detailed plan for what to do in a code red emergency.

"We go and we work with our schools. We also have worked with local law enforcement about what our emergency management procedures are, so if they do have to come into one of our schools for emergency, they have a very good idea of what our staff is going to be doing inside our schools," said Mieras.

Monday's incident proves the system is not perfect. A student who was authorized to be in the school turned out to be the shooter. Mieres says his department has a lot to learn from the incident.

"We sit down after every event and discuss what went well, what did not go well and what things we have in place, and what steps we could do to better our school police and our emergency management in our schools," said Mieras.

The school police department could not tell us the rest of the precautions because they do not want people to know them. If they did know, there is a greater chance they could circumnavigate those procedures in an event of an emergency.