Butler County Sheriff: More school safety is needed

The top law enforcement officer in Butler County told the Journal-News this morning the grim news from the Texas school shooting is a deadly reminder that area schools need to remain vigilant against attacks.

“Here we are again,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones in reaction to the shooting at a Texas elementary school that saw an 18-year-old gunman kill 19 children and two teachers.

Tuesday’s assault in the town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, Jones drew wide attention for confronting some area school districts in pushing for more armed school police officers, arming trained school staffers and advocating for other security measures to harden local school buildings against being targeted for deadly attacks.

In 2016, a Madison school student wounded three classmates in a cafeteria shooting before being chased down and arrested by a school police officer supplied by Jones’ department.

Jones said today prior to Sandy Hook’s 2012 killings, he rated local school security at “an F or D minus.”

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Now, after adding more armed officers and upgrading school security infrastructures – such as cameras, buzz-in entrances, locked doors and windows, diligent ID checks for visitors and more – Jones gives area schools a grade of C plus.

But, he quickly adds, there is still much to do.

“Schools are safer now, but they need to step up to the plate and they need to do more.”

More schools need to add “law enforcement officers there in the school or someone in the school with a weapon, that is trained, puts them there before the police can get there” during an armed school attack, said Jones, whose department supplies many area schools with school officers.

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