July 18 2019

Members of the Burlington Police Department Attend Symposium on School Safety


Two members of the Burlington Police Department attended a symposium to enhance their abilities to keep Burlington students safe.  


Chief Michael Kent said in a release that he is pleased to report that Lt. Kevin Cooney and Officer Vito Costa attended a National School Safety Symposium.


From Sunday, July 7 through Wednesday, July 10, Lt. Cooney and Costa attended the National School Safety Symposium in Thornton, Colorado. Officer Costa serves as an alternate school resource officer at Burlington Public Schools.


The symposium began with a visit to the Columbine Memorial, and featured presentations on topics including creating safe schools, building a safe school climate based on the U.S. Secret Service's criteria, threat assessment inside a large district, proactive prevention steps school communities can take and healing and moving on after a tragedy.


Speakers at the symposium included survivors of school shootings, parents of school shooting victims, a hostage negotiator, a threat assessment coordinator, law enforcement representatives and other school safety professionals.


The symposium was hosted by The I Love U Guys Foundation, an organization that advances school safety by connecting school administrators with law enforcement officials to handle critical events and emergencies, a release states. Founded by John-Michael Keyes, whose daughter Emily was fatally shot in the Platte Canyon, Colorado, High School Shooting. Emily’s final text to her father before being killed was, “i love u guys.”


“School safety is of the utmost importance, and hearing from experts on varying prevention initiatives and response techniques is incredibly valuable as we continue to evaluate, adjust and improve our own school safety plans,” Chief Kent said. “We're fortunate and thankful to have had the opportunity to send our officers to this training.”


This is the fourth year the Burlington Police Department has sent officers to the training.


The symposium also included a full day workshop during which officers were trained in the Standard Response Protocol and the Standard Reunification Method, the release states. Both procedures were crafted by the I Love U Guys Foundation.


Standard Response Protocol offers four action based responses for schools to take in the event of an emergency: lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter. The Standard Reunification Method is a procedure that gives educators the tools to ensure that students are reunited with a parent or guardian in the event of an emergency.


“The founders and speakers of the Standard Response Protocol Symposium went through unimaginable tragedy, some as directly affected parents and some as responding officers,” Officer Costa said. “These experiences, along with countless years of research, were then turned into a tool for School Administrators and Law Enforcement to use to keep our communities protected.”


“The training at this seminar gave us the chance to learn from people who were directly involved in some of our country's tragedies,” Lt. Cooney said. “It was a great opportunity for us to share ideas with others.”


After Burlington Police attended the 2016 school safety symposium, Chief Kent and Superintendent Dr. Eric Conti transitioned the Burlington Public School District to Standard Response protocol in fall 2016 to address any incidents or threats to student safety.


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