Safety Training Offered To School Officials

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The Sebastian County Sheriff's office will host a free training seminar to help schools prevent and respond to emergencies.

"We've got to do everything we can to try to keep our kids safe," said Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, who is also taking part in the event.

The training seminar entitled “Preparing Your School For a Crisis” is open to law enforcement agencies, first responders, and school administrators and security personnel in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

It will help each school evaluate its emergency response plan.

“We have to at least evaluate ourselves and find our weaknesses, find out what our strengths are, and constantly remind ourselves, ‘You know what? This can happen here,’” said Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck.

Eldridge said the goal is to open up communication with community leaders to discuss ways to keep schools safe.

Sergeant Mark Mergen with the Greenwood Police Department who is also a School Resource Officer (SRO) said he hopes to learn new techniques and strategies that will make the schools more secure.

"Whatever ideas they have, I'm going to try to initiate when I go back in the schools after the training," said Sgt. Mergen.

Fort Smith Police Officer Joe Love, SRO at Southside High School, said when it comes to school safety, "You can't ever have enough training in this profession."

The seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Fort Smith Convention Center. Registration for the free seminar is required. Click here for the registration form.

To register, submit the registration form or simply provide your organizations name, number of attendees, and contact information by February 18, 2013, by mail, fax, or email to:

Arkansas Safe Schools
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Arkansas
414 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901
FAX 479-441-0578

For questions, please call the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, at 479.783.1051, or the United States Attorney’s Office, at 479.783.5125, or e-mail