KSP conducting unannounced lockdown drills at schools

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Kentucky State Police, in conjunction with the Harlan County Board of Education, will be conducting unannounced lockdown drills in all Harlan County Public Schools through September. The lockdown drills are designed to enhance safety procedures to protect students and staff should an incident occur, said KSP Lt. Danny Caudill.

Caudill and his team will conduct the drills without notification to school staff to strengthen lockdown procedures. He said officers will do checks to make certain rooms and doors are locked and secure. Rooms will be checked at random.

“Our goal is not to point out weaknesses, but to improve the school safety practices and prepare in case one of these events does occur in the future,” Caudill said.

Officers will enter the school unannounced and direct the first staff member they come in contact with inside the building to order the lockdown. The length of the drills will depend on the size of the school and on issues that might arise as a result of the activity.

After the drill begins, the school and district will make an announcement of the lockdown at the specific school that the lockdown is only a drill as soon as possible.

Harlan County School District Superintendent Brent Roark said he deems such training as vital should a true emergency arise.

Roark said it is important to make parents and others aware of the planned drills, while also maintaining the integrity and purpose of it.

“We appreciate our parents and guardians understanding the need to perform lockdowns,” Roark said. “I think it is even more important that these be unannounced to our staff to make certain we are prepared in the future. Drills like this can strengthen our efforts should an incident occur in the future.”

Roark stressed the district will utilize social media and the calling system to alert parents and guardians that the incident is occurring and that it is only a drill as early as possible after the drill begins.