Police department preparing for upcoming school year

Southport Police Department tours the elementary school apart of crisis plan prep. (Photo: Monique Robinson/WWAY)

SOUTHPORT,NC (WWAY) — The start of a new school year is right around the corner. In Southport, the police department wants to make sure schools are safe.

Officers spent the morning at Southport Elementary to prepare for any potential crisis which could arise from an active shooter to a tornado. Chief Todd Coring says, with a crew of new officers, it is important to make sure they know all the security access points of the building and the staff who work there.

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“Unfortunately, with the violence that we are seeing nationwide, we just want to be prepared as a police department to respond to those,” Coring said.  “It’s just not a matter of if it could happen, but when.”

Coring says this was step one in a critical response plan.

“I just want the officers to know that if they are responding to a man down or a fire alarm in the 2nd grade pod that they know where that is,” Coring said.

Coring adds you don’t want to wait until an emergency strikes.

“Teachers and staff don’t particularly wear uniforms, so we want the guys to know ‘Hey that’s the principal or that’s the custodian or that’s the 2nd grade teacher,’ so we can connect with them and prepare now before stressful situations fall into our lap,” Coring said.

Coring says the school is staffed with a school resource officer by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s office, but it’s important to establish a relationship now.

“We feel like failure to train is training to fail, so we just thought it was important to get out and walk the school,” Coring said.

But, the training doesn’t end there. Coring says he plans to speak wit the Fire Department next.

“It’s kind of a one way in, one way out on Ninth street so we want to plan to allow those first responders to come in and, of course, looking at critical needs, by going ahead and setting up a perimeter for us and closing off Ninth street,” Coring said.

Coring said the police department is also looking at the International Longshoreman Associations building, which is a block from the police department and three blocks from the school, so parents can wait there for their children during a crisis situation.