The Milford School District is taking precautionary measures this year to increase security by adding school resource officers, securing building access and digitally monitoring school visitors.
These additions are part of a proactive approach, according to district officials, to ensure the safety of students and staff should the need arise, like it did Wednesday morning after two suspects involved in a Rehoboth Beach outlet robbery led a police chase that ended in a crash in Milford.
In response to the incident, School Resource Officer Joey Melvin initiated a lock-down at Central Academy and Milford High School that lasted until 11:15 a.m.
“We once again realized the importance of having a school resource officer in our schools,” said Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel. “Officer Melvin investigated the situation to make sure of its validity, contacted the admin with the lockdown, was at both schools and made arrangements for additional police coverage as needed. Everything was done with such precision that the students didn’t realize that anything serious was going on outside until they were told about it.”
Kohel said there was no disruption of classes due to the incident and parents were alerted immediately of the lock-down.
“Things were seamless in getting school started, getting students in the room and starting instruction,” Kohel said.
Wednesday morning’s lockdown went so smoothly because of the training and lock-down drills provided by Melvin throughout the year, Kohel said.
While school emergency situations can range from power outages to intruders, Melvin believes students and staff should be prepared for any situation, especially on how to survive active shooter events.
Melvin currently works to implement multiple lock-down drills throughout the year at each school and hopes that adding three school resource officers later this year will make these drills more frequent and therefore more effective.
“The way you train is the way you react,” Melvin explained. “They may be training for something that may never happen, but if it were to happen, our staff is ready.”
Milford Police Chief Keith Hudson said they are currently in the hiring process for three additional officers and hopes to have them in the school district by the middle of the school year.
The district also has enhanced the entrances at Lulu Ross Elementary School and Evelyn L. Morris Early Childhood Center to make the buildings more secure. Like the other schools within the district, visitors must now be buzzed into the main office and registered before they are allowed access to the school, Kohel said.
The district’s elementary schools and Evelyn L. Morris also have a visitor management system that scans a visitor’s license and checks it against a database for violent crimes and sex offender registries. If there is a need, the management system automatically alerts the school resource officer, who can view exactly how many visitors are at each school, who they are and why they’re there.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s proven very effective,” Melvin said. “It also helps with accountability. We know exactly who’s in our schools.”
Melvin said the district is working on getting the same system for Central Academy and the high school, as well.