PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Recent school shootings have prompted the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA) to delineate guidelines in an effort to improve school safety.
The RIPCA held a news conference Thursday at Lincoln High School to discuss their suggested protocols. Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Col. Darnell Weaver, Attorney General Peter Neronha, and other local officials were in attendance.
The report recommends that school buildings have locks on exterior doors, ballistic-resistant windows and alert systems that provide direct contact with police.
School administrators are encouraged to have first aid supplies in all classrooms, along with master keys, building plans and school resource officers on hand. Social media training on “expected and appropriate conduct” is also recommended.
Additionally, schools should provide active threat training to all students, according to the report.
Jamestown Police Chief Edward Mello said school building design and construction should factor into the safety protocols.
“Talking to our police chiefs across the state and their colleagues and their communities in terms of superintendent, we found that a lot of times they were relying on other buildings that have been built, architects, without really involving law enforcement in the discussion,” Mello added. “So we created the document as a common sense approach.”
The report also recommends that the Rhode Island Department of Education create a video tool for parents on active threats in schools and train staff on responding to emergencies.
“Most of them are smaller projects, they’re not major recommendations,” Mello said. “The governor fast-tracked some grant funding to be available to schools in every community. So we felt it was appropriate for us as law enforcement to say these are the things that we think are most effective.”
A federal report said there were 93 shootings last year, including the massacre in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers.