Beverly Hills News – Letter to the Community From BHPD Chief Sandra Spagnoli on School Security
Posted: Saturday, February 3, 2018 – 3:09 PM
Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, in a letter to the community, reassures parents that the BHPD is committed to the safety of their kids and the City’s public schools in the wake of a school shooting this week:
Dear Community Member,
School safety is on the minds of many of us as we learn of another violent encounter that occurred at a middle school campus today in the City of Los Angeles. As a result, the Police Department has fielded several inquiries regarding Beverly Hills school safety and emergency preparedness. We are fortunate in the City of Beverly Hills, to have a strong and collaborative relationship between our Police Department and schools, both public and private. The comprehensive safety program that we have in place at our schools, combining training, regular patrols and surveillance, is considered by law enforcement to be the most effective way to ensure the safety of students and staff.
School safety is a priority for the City and the Police Department. Our School Liaison Officer (SLO) and Youth Services Unit work closely with BHUSD Administrators and the PTA Council, in an effort to create a safe environment for both students and staff. We have a police officer at our schools on a regular basis, combined with a Juvenile Detective assigned to supporting issues related to minors. Our second SLO will be appointed before the end of the school year. Our Traffic Control Officers assist parents and students at the start and the end of the school day, with the drop-off and pick-up process. Dedicating Traffic Control Staff to this assignment allows Police Officers to enforce the traffic laws around the schools with the goal of improving traffic safety for children walking to and from school. We continue to have an open-line of communication to discuss items such as:
– School security and crime prevention services
– Disaster preparedness
– Police response times
– Traffic safety
– Mentoring and conducting presentations on youth-related issues including bullying
The newly signed JPA adds a CCTV component to the agreement, allowing the Police Department access to school cameras for emergency situations. This will enhance the security at schools and public safety should there be a situation, on a school campus, that needs to be defused. In addition, as a Department, we conduct annual active shooter preparedness training on campuses during school breaks. Our training is contemporary and in-line with the best practices and lessons learned from within our industry. We conduct this training in partnership with our Fire Department, as they play an instrumental role in rendering aid and saving lives during any critical incident. Also, as part of the Police Department Strategic Plan developed in 2017, the Police Department created a Youth Services Unit, which is comprised of a SLO and a Juvenile Crimes Detective. This unit is responsible for handling all incidents that occur on BHUSD
campuses. The SLO is closely involved in working with the schools as part of this violence prevention plan.
Furthermore, the following plans have been developed in partnership with the BHUSD:
– The 2017-2018 “Safe School Plans” were developed by the School District, in partnership with BHPD Tactical experts.
– In December 2012, after the Newtown Connecticut school shooting incident, the Beverly Hills Police Department developed a prevention program focused on interrupting an active shooter event before it occurs.
– The Police and Fire Departments participate in the School District’s Disaster Awareness Readiness Teams (DART) training, which will be conducted on April 2nd this year. Part of this program is active-shooter response training for the teachers, which will be taught by a BHPD SWAT supervisor.
– The Department participates in on-going training with faculty at all of the schools within the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Joint training drills are conducted at each school, at least two to three times during the school year.
The Police Department plays a significant role in school safety, along with the schools and parents/guardians. On February 15th at 6:00 pm, we will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting at City Hall to discuss crime trends, crime prevention and community/neighborhood safety. This will also include an opportunity for Q & A as well. I welcome you to attend and share your thoughts with the Department. In addition, we will also be attending a PTA Council meeting on February 22nd to address similar issues.
In closing, the Police Department is committed to the protection of our children. We are utilizing the best law enforcement practices in safety and security to protect our schools and children.
Thank you for your continued support for public safety.
Sandra Spagnoli Chief of Police