CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — In the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, school districts across Connecticut put extra security and resources in place.
“I think there’s a certain solemnity through the day given the events that occurred,” said Dr. Jeff Solan, Superintendent of Cheshire Public Schools.
At many schools, extra police were on hand to provide a sense of safety during this difficult and upsetting time.
“Our other focus is on the mental health component,” Solan said. “That is essential for us. Anyone that’s feeling anxious, beyond what is obviously normal in an event like this, receives the support they need.”
School resource officers News 8 spoke with, including in Wolcott, offered up their support as well and reminded students they are there for them.
“Kids get to know the officers as well as getting to know what police officers do from day in and day out,” said Officer Paul Scarcella of the Wolcott Police Department.
Their priority is to keep everyone safe.
“We are first responders, and we are the first ones there if something happens,” Scarcella said. “We don’t have to come from a patrol unit and then respond to the school. We are at the school.”
In Wolcott, Police Chief Ed Stephens said his department and their SROs work hand-in-hand with the superintendent and Board of Education. Together, they have put resources in place, such as a panic button and cameras at each school.
“You have different parking areas; you have different parts of the building,” Stephens showed News 8.
Stephens said through the years, training for police officers has changed.
“You would go outside, set up a perimeter. No more,” Stephens said. “It’s our job to protect and serve the public, especially these little kids. If there’s someone in there with a gun, and I have a gun, I’m going in and I’m going to take them out. My other officers are going to do the same thing. We won’t let any casualties occur if we can stop it.”
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) also released a letter to all superintendents. In their note, the CSDE included materials and resources for the districts. You can find a link to those resources here.