Chicopee takes a closer look at public school security - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Chicopee takes a closer look at public school security

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Chicopee's school committee has decided to take a closer look at security measures in the city's 14 public schools.

The goal of the review is to identify the individual security needs of each school and then tailor a plan of action.  

This examination was prompted by the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

All of Chicopee's public schools have a system in place where visitors to the school have to ring a doorbell and identify themselves before they are let in.

Only four schools in Chicopee now have updated security, including cameras strategically placed around the school to identify visitors, and to prevent vandalism.

Chicopee's Mayor Michael Bissonnette told CBS 3 the priority in this review is to make the other 10 schools safer by incorporating several new security measures into them.  

"We want to improve and increase the use of security cameras both on the exterior and the interior door systems, as well as in some areas ... changing the locking mechanism, changing the security mechanism, and the glass that is used in those door areas," Bissonnette said.

Between bulletproof glass and an increased number of security cameras at schools, Bissonnette said the price tag will be big.

In 2008, 14 security cameras had been installed inside and outside of Chicopee's public library. 

"These are not cheap. To be able to properly do a building, as we did with the Chicopee public library ... we added in a security package three years ago that cost close to $100,000," Bissonnette said.

It's not just the schools that Bissonnette believes need to be made safer. The safety of schools also depends on the security of both public buildings and places in communities.

"What we can do though as a society is to prepare for these sad eventualities and make it more difficult for people to commit that mayhem," said Bissonnette.  

Bissonnette told CBS 3 that the school committee plans to review its safety policies this February.

He also said that new safety measures will start to be implemented throughout the rest of the school year and into the summer.

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