• December 27, 2014

Soldiers help with Cove ISD security

Fort Hood units patrolled schools after bomb threats

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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 10:47 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fort Hood stepped in to help the Copperas Cove Independent School District after campus security was increased in the wake of multiple bomb threats at its secondary schools.

Fort Hood Military Police and K-9 units are collaborating with Cove fire and police to provide a continuous roving guard presence at every campus throughout the district.

At S.C. Lee Junior High School, members of its adopted unit, the 62nd Signal Battalion, have been on hand to help staff and students.

“We are there as a safety presence,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Woody B. Carter. “We are there to help out and make sure the students and staff feel secure.”

Speaking Thursday, Carter said the battalion has been sending about 10 soldiers to the campus each day. Once there, they help teachers and provide escorts for students around campus and to the buses.

“I think it helps keeps everybody calm,” Carter said. “The students really feel safe and secure, despite the rumors. In the end, we really just want to be there and help.”

Earlier this month, district and Copperas Cove Police Department officials acknowledged a threat that was found on Facebook, which stated that Copperas Cove High School will be “shot up and bombed” on Dec. 21. Even though police and Superintendent Joseph Burns said there was “no truth” to those rumors, the district and the department said there were plans to heighten security.

In addition to the extra manpower from Fort Hood and local police, the district appears to be using a number of other security measures.

Witnesses, including parents and Cove middle and high school students, reported students and their belongings were being searched prior to entering the school, and confirmed the use of metal detectors.

Those security measures and others will remain in place indefinitely, according to the district.

Reviewing procedures

The increased security in Copperas Cove comes at a time when many schools across the country are likely reviewing safety measures in the wake of a Dec. 14 shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, which left 20 children and six adults dead. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.

In the days after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott urged school districts to review their safety plans, and released a list of 78 Texas districts that did not meet reporting and safety standards.

On Dec. 17, state education commissioner Michael Williams called on all districts to review their emergency operation plans.

On Dec. 14, the Killeen Independent School District released a statement that said its emergency plans and procedures were reviewed by district staff and principals at a Dec. 13 meeting.

“Killeen ISD is continually looking at the district’s emergency plans and procedures to ensure they are being followed and are ready to be implemented, if necessary,” the statement read.

More prevention

While districts like Cove and Killeen seek to protect students from threats of violence, simply increasing security may not be the answer.

A statement released Wednesday by the Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence, made up of university researchers from across the country, called for more effective prevention efforts.

“Inclinations to intensify security in schools should be reconsidered,” the statement reads. “We cannot and should not turn our schools into fortresses.”

The statement, co-written by a group of nine college professors, instead calls for improving communication and trust between students, families, the community and law enforcement as well as improving access to mental health services and limiting the availability of firearms to those unable or unwilling to use them in a lawful manner.

“A balanced approach implies well-integrated programs that make sense and are effective,” the statement reads. “Although it may be logical to control public entrances to a school, reliance on metal detectors, security cameras, guards, and entry check points is unlikely to provide protection against all school-related shooting, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.”

As these larger issues continue to be discussed by researchers, pundits and politicians, districts like the ones in Killeen and Copperas Cove will continue to manage the need for security with the desire to create an ideal learning environment for students.

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6 comments:

  • mzfitz posted at 1:26 pm on Fri, Dec 28, 2012.

    mzfitz Posts: 19

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for them Francis? They're choices put MY child in harms way and infringed on HER right to an education. They should've thought about that before they started the terroristic threats! Now my child and those that didn't do anything wrong have to be treated like criminals because of the actions of these punk kids. They deserve everything that's going to happen to them.

     
  • markL posted at 7:02 am on Fri, Dec 28, 2012.

    markL Posts: 7

    I have concerns regarding this action. Craig is right...the "Great Place" leadership cannot simply cast aside the lawful restraints placed on them involving the use of American military on American soil.

    The writer who suggests that we should cast aside such and that the folks in Washington take a "hands off" stance would be served by a study of the Constitution and perhaps a couple of civics classes.

    There is a darker side here. I wonder if the III Imperial Corps would be so quick to respond to similar situations at Killeen HS or Shoemaker HS. I guess the "retired" Cove connection trumps all else.

    I am an American and a free man. I do not want my family members under constant watch by members of our military.

     
  • Viktor posted at 10:44 pm on Thu, Dec 27, 2012.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    The soldiers are there through adopt-a-unit program & thus they are there in a volunteer capacity not a unit directed action. Get the violations of posse comitatus straight!

     
  • Gordon Hilgers posted at 2:50 pm on Mon, Dec 24, 2012.

    Gordon Hilgers Posts: 1

    Well, heck yeah, I definitely feel much better about life in general just seeing row after row of tanks and soldiers in camoflauge marching down the streets, mainly because, even with the American flag patches on soldier shoulders, it kinda gives me that "Nazi Germany rush" I take so much pleasure in. Maybe soon we'll have roving bands of soldiers going door to door to take-away our record albums and any reading material found to be harmful to a public heavily admonished already not to think, not about anything.

    It should be noted, for example, that people unhappy with the Soviet government were labeled "hooligans" and "criminals" and "mentally ill" and were therefore separated from a society actually run by psychopaths. So perhaps there really is a linkage between criminal behavior and gross inequality in terms of America's all-important economic measures of the quality of a person's character.

    To that effect, I suggest we outlaw greed and treat it with strong doses of anti-psychotic medication. Donald Trump? You're first.....

     
  • Francis Wright posted at 9:25 am on Mon, Dec 24, 2012.

    Francis Wright Posts: 1

    Give it a rest Craig, if our soldiers can make sure that the children in other Countries can go to school. Then they can help protect our children from the foolishness. Those Commanders in DC need to have a hands off stance. Let 3rd Corps do it's job and support the local community. Besides go by all the schools and you will see that all of the schools are sponsored by a unit. Want to be involved try to figure what those kids can do to have a future. Now that they have a felony under thier belts they wont be able to find much of a job, they pretty much screwed up thier future. Any application for a Grant or Scalarship has this question; Have you ever been charged or convicted of a felony? Which pretty much excludes one from the money. Which a Terroristic Threat is.

     
  • CraigL posted at 8:26 am on Mon, Dec 24, 2012.

    CraigL Posts: 0

    The use of Military Police maybe in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. I think a look at the Fort Rucker incident in 2009 were MPs were used to block traffic caused some to loose their jobs on post. The way this article reads, the MPS are in an active role. The only times military can be involved according to the PCA is; non-active support to civilian law enforcement off of federal installations; military personnel conducting law enforcement against civilians on federal installations; military personnel providing designated personnel security off of federal installations; and National Guard personnel conducting law enforcement against civilians off of federal installations when activated under state orders. Has III Corps JAG signed off on this? Are they aware of the perception? I appreciate the thought but Copperas Cove is not under military law. Please read this article for further information; [url removed]

    Edited by staff.