What do these communities have in common … West Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., Littleton, Colo., Bailey, Colo., Omaha, Neb., Newtown, Conn.?

What do these communities have in common … West Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., Littleton, Colo., Bailey, Colo., Omaha, Neb., Newtown, Conn.?

Sadly all of these cities were the victims of reported school shootings. In fact, since 1996 there have been more than 55 reported school shootings in the United States alone.

Over the past decade this type of situation has presented new challenges to both school system administrators and law enforcement. With the safety of our students and school faculty in mind, the Rolla Police Department has researched new strategies in dealing with the threat of armed intruders in our schools and sought out training opportunities relaying these strategies.

Key members of this agency have been selected to undergo the most recent training programs and then bring the information back to us to be utilized in our community. Lt. Jim Macormic, Cpl. Josh Campbell, Cpl. John Frey and Cpl. Adam Meyer have undergone extensive active shooter training in preparation for this segment of training.     

In February of this year, Phase I of the training began when teams of officers met with the faculty and staff of the Rolla Public Schools system and conducted preliminary training into the newest and best proven concepts in school safety.

The training was conducted at each of the public schools in the system and provided to each teacher and administrator in their own personal work areas. The entire staff of the Rolla Public Schools system eagerly accepted the training and were quick to adopt the new concept.

This same training was also provided to Newburg, Edgar Springs and Rolla’s private schools over the next few weeks. St. James schools had already received the training prior to this scheduling and had a good plan in place.

Last week, Phase II was enacted when we collaborated with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri S&T police and the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Department of Public Safety and offered responding officer training to all members of these agencies.

Then this past week we utilized one of the public school buildings to create real time scenarios where responding officers were able to put into play what they had learned in the recent training sessions. As you can imagine, this training was a huge undertaking and required detailed coordination between the instructors, school administrators and local volunteers to keep the training safe but still true to life.

We would like to thank our many volunteers for their time and support and we would also like to commend the Rolla Public Schools system for their dedication to the safety of our students and their continued support of the Rolla Police Department.

On Sunday, July 21, at approximately 7:22 a.m. the Rolla Police Department’s central communications received at 911 call of a motor vehicle accident involving a child pedestrian on the parking lot of the Oak Tree apartment complex which is located 2007 Forum Drive in Rolla.

In the initial report, it was reported that a small child had been struck by a vehicle on the parking lot. Police, fire and EMS were dispatched to the scene and the child was transported to Phelps County Regional Medical Center, where she was later pronounced deceased.

During the course of the investigation it was determined that a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica that was owned and operated by Megan N. Toole, 24, of Rolla, was backing from a private parking space in the apartment complex when she apparently failed to see her daughter behind the van.

The vehicle then struck the child which resulted in her fatal injuries. The child was identified as Alexie J. Toole, 2, of Rolla. This incident is still under investigation by the Rolla Police Department’s division of criminal investigations, traffic accident investigation unit and the Phelps County coroner’s office.

This next entry is from the desk of Cpt. Jason Smith who writes: “The Phelps County Child Advocacy Network, Prevention Consultants of Missouri and the Rolla Police Department are very excited to announce that we were recently selected through a competitive grant process to receive a permanent drug drop box through the Missouri Youth/Adult Alliance, a program of ACT Missouri.

“The grant provided this permanent drug drop box free of charge to us. In an effort to keep prescription drugs away from children, prescription drug abusers and out of our water supply, citizens are able to deposit their unwanted prescription drugs in this permanent drug drop box 24 hours per day. The drug drop box is located inside the main lobby of the Rolla Police Department located at 1007 N. Elm St.

“Items accepted are prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, samples, medications for pets, ointments, lotions and liquid medication in glass or leak proof containers. Those items not accepted are needles (sharps), thermometers, bloody or infections waste, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans and inhalers.

“It is our goal to lower the rates of prescription drug abuse through raising awareness and providing education on the dangers of prescription drugs to Missouri’s youth. We hope that the placement of this permanent drug drop box will help us with our constant battle on the war on drugs.”

The next entry is from Spo. Steve Gray, from our urban housing unit. Steve writes: “On July 14, 2013, at approximately 0041 hours officers stopped a vehicle for multiple lane violations in the area of Bridge School Road and Mercy Avenue. Officers would later arrest the driver for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

“Although the Rolla Police Department has numerous driving under the influence arrests a year, this one is being highlighted because the driver was reported by a concerned citizen who wanted to help and prevent an accident that could have resulted in serious physical injuries or death.

“The Rolla Police Department could not be as effective in reducing crime and keeping our roadways safe without the help of the citizens we serve. Kudos to the caller and everyone else who helps by reporting crimes and suspicious activity.”

In closing, I would like to offer kudos to the Rolla Police Department SWAT team and SWAT leader Spo. Luke Kearse for the training and coordination of the Regional SWAT Sniper Training hosted by the Rolla Police Department this past week.

SWAT snipers from several agencies in central Missouri were offered unique training conducted at a local quarry where officers faced difficult terrain and natural and man-made obstacles as hazards in preparation for the perfect shot. Great job guys!

Have a great week!