SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN)- Sidney schools are on the cutting edge of security procedures. Each school has a gun inside a safe ready should it be needed. There are also resource officers hired specifically to keep everyone safe.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Shepherd is one such officer. He walks the halls of Longfellow Elementary School.
“I spend pretty much the whole time I’m here, walking up and down the hallways, looking into the classrooms, checking on the kids. I monitor them when they’re outside at recess. I monitor them when I’m in the cafeteria at lunchtime. It’s just kind of an overall, be everywhere at the same time type of thing,” says Deputy Shepherd.
He’s been in law enforcement for 37 years.
Deputy Shepherd was hired after the Sidney City Schools Board of Education voted to put a uniformed officer in every school in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy in December 2012.
He believes his presence is making a difference to the students.
“You get to know what their problems are very early on. Sometimes they have problems that you can’t weed out without real professional help, but you can tell whether their home lives are affecting them and things like that. Peer pressure and that sort of thing,” comments Deputy Shepherd.
Principal Francine Dembski says she is comforted knowing Deputy Shepherd is always keeping an eye on things.
“It gives me a peace. We have district meetings and when I am out of the building, I know that the building is in good hands,” explains Dembski.
Each school also has several security cameras as well as an armed emergency response team.
About three dozen teachers and administrators were trained by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office last year.
Every school now has a gun. It is in a secure location, only known to those on the team. It can only be accessed by a fingerprint.
“We feel by having guns, loaded guns that are accessible only in biometric safes that can be opened only by trained, armed response team members,” comments Superintendent John Scheu.
Scheu says there haven’t been any threats that have prompted the use of a gun.
The district has budgeted $150,000 to pay for the seven new security officers as well as the security cameras and guns.