Arkansas AG Announces New School Safety Initiative

Oct 21, 2014

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced a school safety initiative as part of the state’s Special Investigations Division at a press conference Tuesday.

McDaniel said the program is to increase preparation for school shooting incidents around the state. He says teachers, law enforcement officers and first responders need to know what steps to take in a school emergency.

“School employees learn what it means to avoid, deny and defend in protecting their kids. That is [to] avoid danger at all costs by looking for ways to get out of a building, find ways to deny access to classrooms, locker rooms or offices, and ultimately defend yourself when it is impossible to avoid or deny.”

Representative Andrea Lee advocated for bill 228 which allocates funding for two new agents to train teachers and first responders to deal with school shootings and other violent intruders.

Special agents Jeremiah Terrell and Tony Allen, will join the Special Investigations Division to train school staff, police officers and first responders around the state.

McDaniel said the state had been employing private contractors to do part of this work but funding the new agents will save costs.

“Some private companies charge as much as $500 per employee to attend courses such as the one we provided yesterday for free. Our programs are available at no cost to the educators and law enforcement personnel who attend,” he said.

McDaniel said he does not support continuing to arm school staff, who are currently allowed to carry guns, although the legislature may revisit this issue next year.