Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Office of Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.
Canton Superintendent Jeffrey Granatino, Canton Police detective Chip Yeaton and Blue Hills Regional dean of students Thomas Cavanaugh were among those who attended a special meeting on school safety assessment held recently by Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.
The program is one Morrissey is currently offering in every town in his district, and includes a comprehensive school safety assessment, providing improved planning and security in the event of a violent school incident.
"This is very important work, and I want to make it as easy as possible for towns to have it done,” said Morrissey in a statement.
Last week, Morrissey convened the first meeting of his new Norfolk County School Safety Task Force. The meeting was attended by more than 50 people, including the three Canton officials and several area superintendents, principals, police and elected officials.
“We will provide this for whichever school facility the community chooses,”Morrissey said. “Then, local police and the school officials can use that assessment report as a template to craft plans to keep safe children in other school buildings in the district as they see the opportunity.”
The Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (MetroLEC) is a consortium of 43 local police and sheriff departments that shares resources, equipment and expertise. The organization has developed a comprehensive Incident Management Protocols and Critical Tasks – I.M.P.A.C.T. – program, designed to help schools and police decrease or prevent injuries if a violent school event occurs. Morrissey has negotiated to have the work done for any city or town in Norfolk County, and he will use money forfeited to his office in successful drug prosecutions – and not tax dollars – to fund it.
Braintree Police Sgt. Det. Tim Cahoon and Medway Sgt. Jason Brennan, both active in the MetroLEC consortium, discussed the kind of training and materials towns would receive, all based on the post-incident analyses done in past school shooting and crisis incidents.
Morrissey has overseen a substantial push to improve local school safety since being elected District Attorney in 2010. He has offered local school systems three rounds of grants for capital improvements – from door locks and intruder alarms to video security cameras – to improve student safety. In both November 2012, the month before the Sandy Hook shooting, and February 2013, the DA hosted training for police and school personnel on techniques that can save lives in active shooter situations. The training was provided by Response Options, a Texas-based firm founded by a married couple – she a school principal, he a trained SWAT officer. “It is important to provide schools systems with the tools to develop safety plans,”Morrissey said.
“District Attorneys have a responsibility to prevent crime and ensure public safety that extends beyond effective prosecution,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “School age children are one of our most targeted and at-risk populations. I want every chief, every superintendent, every principal and every parent to know that they have a partner in making their children as safe as we can.”