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Hartshorne schools test new radio system in active shooter drill | Local News - Telephony News
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Hartshorne schools test new radio system in active shooter drill | Local News







ADRIAN O’HANLON III | Staff photoStudents participate in an active shooter drill Tuesday to test a new radio system at Hartshorne Public Schools.


Students and staff at Hartshorne Public Schools participated in an active shooter drill Tuesday that tested a new system focused on streamlining communication with law enforcement.

Superintendent Jason Lindley said he was encouraged with the district’s response during the drill that tested a radio system installed so school officials could communicate directly with the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office dispatch. He said the new system will help the school notify law enforcement in the event of an active shooter and reduce response time in the hopes of saving lives.

“You’re trying to get as many law enforcement officers here as you can because they’re the ones who are trained to deal with it,” Lindley said.

Conversations over school security arose last November after a fatal shooting near Hartshorne’s North Ward Elementary School prompted officials to temporarily place the school on lockdown.

Lindley said cell phone communication was limited with employees at the campus and led him to seek a more direct solution to improve campus security if a similar event happened again.

Data from Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center shows at least 433 active shooter attacks — in which one or more shooters killed or attempted to kill multiple unrelated people in a populated place — in the United States from 2000 to 2021. 

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris, whose children attend Hartshorne schools, and Lindley talked about getting some school employees direct access to the PCSO dispatch through a radio system — then worked to get it installed.

“He said there were a lot of spots at the school or on bus routes with bad cell phone service so I just hooked him up with our radio people, Muskogee communications, and he put in a system at Hartshorne that’s state of the art,” Morris said.

“It’s a great idea he had,” Morris added.

School employees using the system can directly communicate with Hartshorne and Haileyville Police Departments, and PCSO deputies in an emergency situation.

Lindley said HPS shared costs with Haileyville Public Schools to install radio systems at the districts.

“We’re a mile apart as the crow flies so having communication with those guys is important too,” Lindley said.







Lindley

ADRIAN O’HANLON III | Staff photoHartshorne Public Schools Superintendent Jason Lindley says the district’s new radio system will help communication with law enforcement officers in the event of an active shooter.


Hartshorne’s system included several radios and a repeater that cost $50,000-$60,000.

Morris said his department would love to work with more schools to install similar systems to improve law enforcement response time. He said his office also hopes to work with schools to find school resource officers and more cost effective ways to improve campus security.

“It’s a shame that it comes down to funding to protect our kids and it seems to be on the back burner as far as grants and government money,” Morris said. “I think it should be a priority.”

Officials met with Hartshorne staff on Monday to test the internal system, then held its first active shooter drill with the new system on Tuesday.

Shane Hackler, another law enforcement officer who volunteered assistance in the process, said he gave a stamp of approval for the school’s first drill with the new system.

“This end (the east wing) was all cleared out to the doors in less than two minutes,” Hackler said. “That’s pretty good.”

Hackler said the school could improve internal communication during the drill, but said it went smoother than anticipated.

Hartshorne Police Chief Jerry Ford said during the drill he believed students and staff reacted quickly to the surprise drill.

Lindley said he will get feedback from the law enforcement officers involved to see how the drills and plan of action can be improved in the coming weeks.

He said the district has worked to improve school security through various aspects over the years with lock on entryway doors, implementing procedures for students and staff to keep doors closed, hiring school resource officers, and more.

“We’re doing really about all that you can do at this point,” Lindley said.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com







Nicole Green

ADRIAN O’HANLON III | Staff photo

Hartshorne Middle School Principal Nicole Green discusses with school officials the plan for Tuesday’s active shooter drill.


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