New Commission Formed, Local Schools Evaluate Security After Conn. Tragedy

Thursday, December 20th 2012, 6:32 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma lawmakers are taking extra measures to keep our schools safe nearly a week after the tragic school shooting in Connecticut.

State leaders announced Thursday they're forming a new task force called the Oklahoma Commission on School Security. While they're working on long-term security measures for schools across our state, the Deer Creek Public School District is already making changes to its campuses to keep kids safe.

In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut,  state leaders are taking a closer look at how to keep kids safe in our schools.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and House Speaker-elect T.W. Shannon announced the formation of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security at the state capitol Thursday. 

"That will be the primary goal of this commission, to assess and reassess in Oklahoma where we are with school security," Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.

The Deer Creek Public School District is already revamping its security, launching a long-term partnership Thursday with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.

12/20/2012 Related Story: Deer Creek Schools Beefing Up Security To Protect Students

"This morning we saw the faces of innocence in this school, and we're going to continue to see the faces of innocence in these schools," Sheriff John Whetsel said.

More deputies will be on campus throughout the school day. Parents welcome the extra security. Whetsel brought some help, the OCSO mascot, to talk with kids about the changes.

"Law enforcement keeps them safe, law enforcement are their friends, and that's one of the reasons we brought Deputy Briscoe," Whetsel said.

News 9 talked with Gov. Mary Fallin Thursday about other schools being proactive and having emergency plans in place.

"I think each school has to evaluate where they might have gaps or holes in their security. Some schools do a better job than other schools and may not have thought about some things that could be an opening for some type of threat," Fallin said.

While the Sheriff's Office is reviewing the security procedures at Deer Creek, Fallin is encouraging other schools to take advantage of the resources available through the Department of Homeland Security. It offers free training for emergency response plans.

State leaders say the new commission will discuss school safety and mental health. The members of the commission have not been decided.