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Pilot program helps area school improve security for free

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WALLACE, NC (WWAY) -- One year ago a gunman stormed into an elementary in Newtown, CT, and killed 20 children and six adults.

Since then schools have tried to find new ways to prevent that from happening again. It's not an easy task, but many people believe it's a necessary one.

With the help of a security expert, one school in Duplin County is now equipped to handle an intruder.

When Duplin County School Resource Officer Manager Capt. Tim Jones heard about what was happening a year ago at Sandy Hook, he really did not have words for it.

"It was just a terrible feeling knowing that so many young lives were taken in a senseless act," Jones said.

That senseless act prompted the Duplin County Sheriff's Office to ask security consultant Patrick Fiel to create a pilot program for the school district. He chose Wallace Elementary School.

"This school is actually, the community we're living in today is actually growing, very fast," Fiel said. "When you have a lot of activity, it could lead to robberies and shootings which could lead to the school area."

For free Fiel helped add levels of security.

The school redirected the parking lot and cleared the landscape to open it up and make it more visible.

The doorbell and the security camera at the front door is the next level of security. When a visitor walks in, the office is the only place they can go. They sign in and have a picture taken.

"If we don't want you in, but they try to come in, we know that instantly when they put their ID card in," Fiel said.

After that, the next set of doors into the school are secured. There are cameras in many places and nearly every door locks automatically.

"The pilot program isn't just for Duplin County," Fiel said. "It's really a model for the nation."

It's the beginning of what they all hope with be a nation free of school violence.

"This is just a baby step to where we need to be," Capt. Jones said.

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