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District ramps up safety measures

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Law enforcement officers demonstrate procedures to be taken in the event of an active shooter situation during training at COCISD campuses in July. Photo by Cassie GregoryLaw enforcement officers demonstrate procedures to be taken in the event of an active shooter situation during training at COCISD campuses in July. Photo by Cassie Gregory

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Chief Jack Dean and Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD school resource officers held a four-day intensive active shooter training that included local, county and state law enforcement officials and EMS In July. 

The training familiarized participants with the layouts of the campuses and a variety of scenarios to prepare them for multiple situations that could occur. 

During professional development in August, all COCISD staff members were trained by Dean in what to do in the case of an active shooter incident and emergency first aid procedures in a training called Stop the Bleed.

Even before the unimaginable tragedy at Uvalde ISD, Dean and district administrators were performing campus safety audits and creating a comprehensive safety plan to ensure law enforcement agencies, emergency services, and district employees would be able to work together effectively in the event of a campus or district-wide emergency.

Dean met with district leaders and school board members over the summer to discuss the audit and proposed steps to improve campus safety including campus modifications, student and staff procedures, and training sessions. 

Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD is known for being proactive toward campus safety and security. Under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton and COCISD Police Chief Dean, planning and preparation for safety are of the utmost importance.

In addition to the training, the following safety measures are in place:

•Increased security cameras at all facilities.

•Mandatory metal detector checks at the junior high, high school, and DAEP (Jones) campuses.

•Keyless badge entry system for most campuses and limited points of entry for all campuses.

•Interior, exterior doors and perimeter gates will remain locked.

•Increased police officer patrols and security checks.

•Upgraded police department radio operations.

•Updated emergency operations procedures and protocols packets.

•Security Threat Assessment Team meetings, Safety & Security Committee meetings biannually, quarterly critical incident response and management training for police department personnel, and biannual safety audits conducted by COCISD police and maintenance personnel in conjunction with the mandated Texas Education Agency audit every three years.

Dean has extensive experience in law enforcement and emergency incident response. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Dean served in the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Trooper before advancing to the  Texas Ranger Special Operations Group and then to the Criminal Investigations Division before his retirement in 2020. He has also been an adjunct instructor for the University of Texas Advanced Rapid Response Law Enforcement Training (Active Shooter).

Dean says his philosophy is expressed perfectly by Aristotle: “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

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