Los Alamos High School staff participate in Safety Academy Monday afternoon in the Black Box Theater at LAHS. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos Police Sgt. Chris Ross introduces new LAHS School Resource Officer Cpl. Jay Eakins to school staff Monday afternoon. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
The Los Alamos Police Department’s Community Liaison Sgt. Chris Ross and his team of school resource officers (SRO) have been busy throughout the summer, but particularly this past week as they prepared for the return of students to classes Thursday.
There are some changes on the SRO team this year with Cpl. Jay Eakins headed to Los Alamos High School, Cpl. James Keane going to Los Alamos Middle School and Cpl. Adele McKenzie moving to the elementary schools. Cpl. Robert Stephens has left the middle school to return to patrol duty.
Ross said Wednesday the SROs are looking forward to continuing building a positive relationship with LAPS students and staff.
“Our goal this year is to provide a safe environment for all students and staff members at each campus so that each student can thrive and take a giant leap forward in their academic career,” Ross said.
He said the SRO’s have spent time during the summer training with and teaching classes for LAPS staff culminating with Safety Academy held earlier this week for all staff.
“Some of the SROs training this summer has included attending a threat assessment course, active shooter training and active shooter integration training. Even though the police department spends countless hours training for the worst-case scenario, we want to provide all the necessary tools and confidence to report any suspicious behavior so we as a community may never have to experience a tragedy like we have seen over the years across the nation,” Ross said. “Our SRO’s continually stay current with trends and case law, as they are all members of the National Association of School Resource Officers and with that membership, they receive bi-weekly updates on school safety-related topics.”
He said the SROs role within the schools is to be a resource for them.
“Whether that is being a role model, counselor, educator, security expert or as a law enforcement officer, we want all students and staff members to know that we are there for them,” Ross said.
Police Chief Dino Sgambellone told the Los Alamos Daily Post Wednesday that the SRO program remains a vital component of the Department’s overall public safety strategy.
“We continue to value our partnership with the schools and community. As we move into a new school year, we remind teachers, parents, and staff, to be alert and if you see something, say something. LAPD officers remain committed to community safety and safety within and around our schools,” Sgambellone said.
LAPS Board President Jennifer McCumber said she has always been impressed with what the school district does to ensure the safety of students ever since the first fire drill she participated in as a volunteer at Mountain Elementary School long ago.
“We are a continuous improvement school in all respects, including making facilities and practices safer every year. Whether it’s updating surveillance equipment, making decisions about a new school’s design or standardizing our safety protocols, we constantly address this issue.”
McCumber said listening is important. She said right now, the school board is seeking funding from the state to add perimeter fencing around Chamisa Elementary School, partly as a result of LAPD’s recommendations made to the board about campus safety.
“In the spring we provided more student training in response to our students telling us they didn’t feel prepared enough in the event of an active shooter situation. This prompted us to hold a half day of Safety Academy training for all school staff before school starts,” she said. “The key is developing a culture of safety and I believe that’s behind everything LAPS does. I think our students are the most important factor; listening to them and encouraging them to speak out—that’s where the answer lies to keeping them safe.”
LAPD Det. Matt Lyon, left, chats with Cpl. Jay Eakins Monday morning during training at the Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
LAPD firearms instructor Det. Sgt. James Rodriguez leads Cpl. Jay Eakins through a ‘move and shoot’ exercise. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos Police Department Firearms Instructor James Rodriguez watches Monday morning as Sgt. Chris Ross prepares to shoot his patrol rifle during training at the Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
LAPD Cpl. Adele McKenzie waits her turn to shoot his patrol rifle during training Monday at the Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
LAPD Cpl. Adele McKenzie is led through a shooting exercise Monday morning by Det. Sgt. James Rodriguez. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
LAPD officers check targets Monday morning during training at the Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com