Cuyahoga Falls -- Students and parents in the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools may have noticed more police officers when they returned from holiday break Jan. 7. That's part of an effort by city and school officials to collaborate on measures "to prevent and react to any emergency situation," said Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Todd M. Nichols.
Nichols said that during the holiday break, he and his administrative team met with members of the city's police and fire departments to review the city's and the school district's crisis plans.
"Nothing was found to be deficient," according to the superintendent. However, he said, school district officials are striving to hone their preparedness.
Shortly after the shooting deaths at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month, Nichols said district officials had met with safety officials and were planning to have more meetings in the coming weeks.
While stopping an event "may be impossible," Nichols said, "we can limit access and train people as to the appropriate reaction. We can also prepare for a coordinated response by all who will be responding. It is on these two aspects which we are focused."
The increased presence of safety service officers in and about Cuyahoga Falls schools, Nichols said, is intended to provide "a sense of calm."
The increased police presence includes both officers and reservists, the superintendent explained in a Jan. 8 e-mail.
"While they [police officers and reservists] may not be available every day," Nichols said, "we will demonstrate greater partnerships amongst the police, our students, their parents, our staff and the community.
Additionally, Nichols noted internal actions have included the purchase and installation of more cameras in and about school buildings.
"Our staff and safety services have access to the cameras at any time during the day from their stations or vehicles," Nichols reported.
Other initiatives have included the training of staff on preventing and reacting to emergency situations, and on "the identification of individuals who may be at risk for violent behavior."
If community members have any concerns about school security and safety, Nichols encourages them to call the district's help line at 1-866-427-9258.
"Of course people are concerned and have questions about safety and security," according to the superintendent. "The vast majority of calls we've received have been positive, helpful and appreciated. We will continue to work proactively and collaboratively with our safety services departments to provide the best coverage and training we can."
phone number: 330-541-9421