Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens announced today she increased the law enforcement presence around local schools in wake of the worst school shooting spree in U.S. history.
“While the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, appear to be isolated, deputies will have an increased presence at local schools,” says Hutchens in a statement from her office. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and all affected by this tragedy.”
The Critical Incident Response Team, Special Weapons and Tactics, Mobile Field Force, School Resource Officers and School Mobile Assessment Resource Team (SMART), which have all been trained to deal with such emergencies, have been put on the ready, according to the statement.
Selected deputies already work on local campuses daily as School Resource Officers, coordinating with school administrators on ongoing student trends, problems and other matters.
Meanwhile, the SMART program aims “to resolve threats or safety issues and concerns involving all personnel associated with schools,” including “school situations or incidents related to violence, threats, possession and/or use of weapons, unstable behaviors and suicidal actions or tendencies,” the statement adds.
There have been 27 confirmed dead from this morning's shooting, with 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza, his mother–
a kindergarten teacher–and 20 Hook Elementary School children among the deceased.
Anyone who notices suspicious activities at schools is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 714.647.7000 or 949.770.6011. Crimes may be reported anonymously to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227.