The shooting that took so many lives in Connecticut has officials in Sullivan County thinking about how to prepare themselves for a worst case scenario. Our Eva McKend met with both the Sullvian County Sheriff's office and the Monticello Central School District to learn more about what plans they have in place should something happen.
SULLIVAN COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Monticello Central School District held a drill last year to prepare themselves for a mass shooting or hostage situation, much like the one that happened in Connecticut. It's just one of the precautions Superintendent Daniel Teplesky believes the school must take.
"We have precautions that are set up. People have to be buzzed into our schools. However, when we have a student that comes back and is home on break that we recognize and the person comes into the building, we allow the person to be buzzed into the school. It’s something we are going to have to take a look at, our protocols, our procedures to ensure every child is safe in our district," said Teplesky.
The local agencies in the relatively small municipality of Sullivan County generally take comfort in knowing they can band together but the horrific incident still leaves officials feeling uneasy.
"How do we ensure that our children are safe and have parents understand their children are safe," said Teplesky.
Administrators at the Monticello Central School District say they will hold another emergency situation drill in the spring but this time it will include both the high school and the middle school. All county officials will have to be on board.
"A drill like the one we hold with the schools allows us to familiarize ourselves with the plant, to familiarize ourselves with the employees and to familiarize the people in the school on what they might expect if we did have to come in," said Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff.
Through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the Sheriff's office purchased an armored vehicle last year, a car they say would be used if anything like what happened in Connecticut were to come to our backyard. They also have a special operations team ready to go.
"There’s no way to prepare yourself for something like that emotionally or physically but we have done some things. We started a response team with the proper training and tactical gear so that if a situation like this did happen, we could engage an active shooter to stop the aggression,” said Schiff.
It's a situation no one wants to see happen here or happen again but has everyone in the county thinking critically about what they would do if it did.