After the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Hannibal Police Department and the Hannibal School District are coming together to review emergency plans if such an event should take place.
School officials announced at their monthly meeting last week they have been meeting with Hannibal police to evaluate their intruder procedures.
"We're looking at things that are practical and we're looking at the structures we have in place. It's very easy for somebody to sit back and say you need to buy this and you need to buy that and it's not just practical for them to do that. What we're trying to do is help them think tacitly and make sure their plans are up to date and actually would work," Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis said Friday. "I think we need to step back and do the things that really matter, and that is narrowing the points of entrance to a school. The common sense things, making sure that basically the schools are locked down, that you just can't walk into the school. That will create inconveniences for the public, but here's the thing, we live in an age where we've got to evaluate. Do we want to increase the safety of our schools or are we more concerned with inconveniencing people?"
Davis said it's best to keep some of the information private, but did say the police department worked with one of the schools this week and has a total of nine to visit. The meetings are scheduled through the remainder of January and February.
Suggestions from the HPD also include two random intruder drills twice a year. This would be no different than weather and fire drills, Davis noted.
At Eugene Field Elementary School, however, principal Vicki Dudding prefers to do her drills more than twice.
"The key to being successful is the classroom teacher reviewing the procedures all the time. Just practice is the main thing and talking about it," Dudding said. "You hope you don't ever have to use one."
Thus far the Hannibal School District hasn't heard from any concerned parents with apprehension to their children going through an intruder drill, according to district business manager Dana Ruhl. He is prepared to handle such a situation though.
"If a parent did call, if a community member wanted to ask those questions, I'd tell them we look at the intruder drills like we do our other drills. They're all important, we need to practice them all. I would let them know that our plans are to do intruder drills twice a year and that we feel strongly that we need to have our students go through those drills because that's the idea if something would happen — hoping it wouldn't," Ruhl said. "But I would also say if we had a parent that felt strongly about not wanting their child to go through an intruder drill, we would probably try to persuade them to allow it because of all that preparation, but we would respect that if a parent truly wanted that to not happen with their child. And we would work with them to make sure it worked out the way they feel it needed to be."