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Draper Police Department to start two new programs aimed at school safety

Jun 21, 2018 11:42AM ● Published by Justin Adams

The Draper City Police Department is working with all the schools in the city, such as Corner Canyon High School, to make them safer. (Wikimedia)

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com

In a presentation to the Draper City Council and other city officials, the Draper Police Department detailed two new school safety programs it will be starting in the fall: the Children at Risk Initiative and the Safe School Initiative.

The two programs are meant to address two aspects of the same issue: school shootings.

The Draper Safe School Initiative came as a call from the city council following the shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year that claimed the lives of 17 high school students, said Mckelle Hamson, who will be overseeing the program.

The program’s goal is to make sure the city’s police department and its schools all have the same plan in place if there ever were to be a school shooting.

“We’re going to make sure our officers are trained and that our schools are trained, and that the training is uniform so that if something were to happen we would have a uniform protocol,” said Hamson.

The city already has the cooperation of every public, private and charter school, according to Hamson.

If the Safe School Initiative is meant to minimize harm in the case of a school shooting, the Children at Risk Initiative (CARI) aims to prevent one from happening in the first place.

“We’re hoping to identify at-risk youth and families that are having incidents that require police presence,” said Rachel Miller, who will be in charge of the program, “but there’s no criminal charges or there’s nothing that DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services) [Office1] can do, and we want to come in and surround them with support and resources in hopes that we can change that behavior.”

The program is an evolution of a previous city program, Communities that Care, which focused on helping families with substance-abuse problems.

Miller said these programs are important to her personally, as she has three kids and a nephew who go to school nearby. “When I was growing up we had the earthquake drill and it would give me terrible anxiety. It’s so different now with our kids,” she said.

Miller and Hamson said they worked closely with Draper City Council members Mike Green and Tasha Lowery over the last few months to create these programs.

“I’m tired of turning on the TV and seeing tragedies,” Green told the Draper Journal. “There has to be something the city can do. While we may not be the national policymakers, our city has resources. The idea of ever having to respond to something like that in our community makes me really sick.”

At the end of the presentation to the city council, Green told Miller and Hamson what his expectations were.

“I’d like you guys to set the standard for our country,” he said.

 

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