A mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut Friday struck worry in the hearts of parents across the nation and put Harford County law enforcement and school officials on alert.
While law enforcement and members of the school system were well aware of the mass shooting, there was no increase in police presence at Harford County Public Schools Friday, Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for the school system, wrote in an email to Patch.
The sheriff's office school policing unit is "routinely vigilant for suspicious circumstances and are quickly aware when breaking news comes out regarding school or mass shootings," Hopkins wrote.
"In light of the events today it would be normal for them to reach out and contact their school liaisons and discuss the event and any necessary preparedness," Hopkins said of school resource officers.
Kranefeld supplied the following information about routine school safety procedures:
Each school has a critical incident plan and drills are conducted every year to ensure that the plan can be executed effectively. Harford County Public Schools has an excellent working relationship with local and state fire, police, and EMS. Active-shooter drills are conducted with key players to practice the role of each agency in an emergency. In addition, HCPS Administrators have been trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) program. NIMS is an emergency preparedness program created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All of our schools are locked down with a visitor management system in place to help ensure that all buildings remain safe. As always, our number one priority is the safety of our students and staff. We will continue to execute the security plans that are in place and remain vigilant.
Neighboring Baltimore County ordered patrols of schools without resource officers in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.