Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Police response time is key element

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We must accept the fact that there is no such thing as guaranteed safety in schools or anyplace else. Even if there were an armed security guard in every classroom, there could still be mass shootings. Instead of arming teachers, having armed security in schools, etc., we should leave the fighting to the professionals, the police, and devise a means of improving their response time.

This could be done with a relatively simple technological system. Individuals — teachers, etc. — would have an electronic device, similar in size to a cellphone, with uniquely shaped push buttons for police, fire and medical emergencies.

Pressing any of the buttons would communicate with an on-site electronic device that would activate an automated 911 call, with a pre-recorded message, which would include the type of emergency — police, fire or medical — and the name and address of the school, business, government building, or even a residential address. Removing the human element from the 911 call — the emotion, the confusion, the stress — police response time would be improved, and could be improved further by having rapid-response units available to respond to “priority” 911 calls, such as calls from schools.

The technology to implement this is not much more complicated than an answering machine with cordless phones. Surely, a nation that has sent a man to the moon could implement this with ease.

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  1. There is no cost, no effort, no trouble, no process and no procedure too costly and/or too burdensome to implement to protect our most precious possessions: Innocent children. None. If we start with that premise in mind, we're doing what needs to be done to keep children safe and valued. If we do anything less, we are as guilty as those who do the evil against them.


  2. Witcher has to be kidding, of course. Aurora, Columbine, Newtown. They all waited for police to arrive and by the time they did, the damage was done; the men, women & children slaughtered. I repeat, Witcher has to be kidding, right? What does it take to wise up guys like him? His own family being slaughtered before he'll do whatever it takes to defend them amd himself from those who don't give a rats-ass about the law and other people's lives and property? I admire the work of Metro but the fact is they consistently arrive too late and after the fact and that's not their fault. It's just the way things are and they cannot be everywhere. Witcher wants to be a "sacrificial" lamb? Fine by me but I'm not about to join him.

  3. Writer Roger Witcher, offers a good suggestion IF it is used as a "layer" of security. It is a low cost measure, and could be easily implemented. This should be a time where any institution, business, even property owner, should be analyzing their security and finding ways to make themselves and properties even more secure and less vulnerable.

    In the last month, I have had several instances requiring the attention of Metro or school police and have found their response outstanding. As citizens and neighborhoods, we need to work with them in finding ways to have the best security possible.

    Blessings and Peace,

  4. Forget it---your too late already. The killings are rapid and occur immediately. Stop trying to figure out a way to do some thing else.Get armed responses in the schools without delay.

  5. You continue to use Va Tech as a benchmark for your argument. In fact the school police at Va Tech were doing as they were trained. Evacuate or secure peole in place in the bulding they were closest to and wait for the local LEO to arrive. Back then police tactics were to create a perimeter and await SWAT to engage the shooter. After this incident police agencies revamped their thinking and most if not all have developed active shooter plans to immediately engage and neutralize the threat. This includes college and school police. In the columbine incident the police did exactly as their dept policy and training dictated, arrive and hold til SWAT gets there. That doesn't apply anymore. Now departments train to enter and engage with as small as two man teams. If an incidnet happened at Va Tech today things would have been much different. Tragic events caused a complete shift in training and policy in all major police agencies. I think if you have a school police force under homeland security you could field a well trained force using just returning military vets and even retired police. Border patrol and customs went under homeland security and i don't think protecting our children doesn't rate the same type of importance.

  6. There will ALWAYS be risks in daily life. Going to the grocery store has risks. Walking to the mail box has risks. An armed guard won't fix it--unless you want to live in a bomb shelter environment with controlled access.... What would help immensely would be rational thoughtful interaction with ALL our neighbors. We need to tolerate and approve of different "life styles" and opinions but we MUST NOT allow radical behavior and irrational thinking. I'm not suggesting police patrol or thought patrols. I am suggesting we each have a responsibility to interact in our communities and be there for each other--including those we don't like much. Each adult must be willing to acknowledge everyone else. We must encourage light conversation, hello, goodbye, how ya doing. And we must be there when a neighbor or stranger wants to talk a little bit. It is human nature to sound our ideas off of other people. Much of the problem occurs when someone with "stray" thoughts has no one to engage in "intelligent" conversation and is left to her/his solitude to speculate endlessly on what if this or that happened. Or, what if other people think I'm weird. Remember the old cliche that if you're not willing to consider that you are unbalanced, you probably are? And if you're having a short chat with that weird neighbor and he seems to be extremely out of it, maybe you know (from previous interaction) that his brother lives across town and you can phone the brother. Maybe you could even suggest directly to the neighbor that he could have a doctor prescribe something to feel better--that you or your sister used to take "happy" pills for awhile and it helped you weather a depressing period in your life. And then, when we do these things, we will TEACH OUR CHILDREN to treat others, even different others, with respect, to not bully, to not ridicule.

  7. Since you seem to know so much about the Va Tech shooting How did you get your inside info. My info on what happened comes dirctly from the horses mouth. The 24 armed officers did in fact evacuate other areas and did in fact secure in place others when it was deemed more secure than running outside with no idea where the shooter was located. In fact the officers were told to wait for local SWAT arrived and not to engage the shooter unless he or they entered their area of responsiblity. At the time it was unknown if only one or multiple shooters were ther and it does take time to plan how you will attack the threat. I invite you to contact Metro or other law enforcement agencies and attend an active shooter excercise. Yuo will get an idea what the chaos is, with injured and others running at you, not knowing if the gunmen is among them. I have had experience with active shooters and the chaos is unreal. You may only have a pistol going against and armed crazy wearing body armor with a long gun. Pistols are great until you hit 30 yarsd, then the accuracy drops dramatically. A rifle goes easily to 500 yards putting you at an exeteme disadvantage. For the record I'm not a right winger, i believ our government wastes money left and right, but i also believ in protecting our children. Homeland Security took over so many departments after 9/11 that they could create a national school police that utilizes and envelopes many local school police departments. This would also remove the burden from local government footing the bill. Thers a way, it would take work and creative financing without ovrburdening what taxpayers already deal with.