News

LHPD, schools work for safety

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The tragic events that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut, have had some residents in the La Habra and La Habra Heights communities looking at the local school districts.

Since Friday there has been an increased presence in all of the local schools, according to Interim Police Chief Jerry Price.
Price added that the police department is there and doing everything it can to ensure safety.

“We have protocols in place and teachers have been trained in procedures,” said Susan Belenardo, superintendent of the La Habra City School District. “ We will do everything that we can to keep the children safe.”

The protocols on campuses call for visitors to check in at the office and have an identification badge or sticker displayed to show they have been cleared through the office.

“We work closely with the local law enforcement agencies and our teachers and staff members watch over their students throughout the school day,” explained Patricia Howell, superintendent of the Lowell Joint Union School District. “We encourage parents to continue to work with the school staff to ensure that we are maintaining the safest learning environment possible.”

For the police department, Price added that the officers continue to prepare for emergencies of all types. School emergencies continue to be one scenario that they train for.

“We have participated in training at schools a number of times,” Price said.

He added that one of the officers has already been working on and updating the department’s emergency response plan for all the schools in the area. This will help them better plan and prepare for any emergencies that might happen at the campuses.

He explained that the police department is ready to respond to any emergency when they are needed. He added that the SWAT team “is a great resources for us that can be activated at any time of the day or night.”

However, he said that a large part of the department’s efforts are focused on the prevention side of such emergencies.

There will continue to be an increased police presence around the schools and in the surrounding areas throughout the return from winter break. This is both an effort of prevention and reassurance.

Price explained that “the police department is looking at its part and the schools are looking at their part, and we are all doing the best job that we can.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.