HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Parents are getting ready to send the kids back to school next week. Henrico Police and the school system are also preparing, making sure your children have a safe place to learn.
There's a uniformed police officer with many years of patrol experience in every school in Henrico County. With just five days until school bells once again usher in students, those officers are refreshing school employees on what to do in an emergency.
Come Tuesday, the walkways School Resource Officer Joe Burton patrols everyday at Tucker High School will be packed with students, ready to learn.
For now though, Burton has teachers as students. He reviews the plans for every parent's worst nightmare - send the kids to school and an unthinkable emergency unfolds.
While most officers consider the streets their workplace, for SROs the school campus is their beat. That way the schools can have the resources of an entire police department in a matter of seconds.
Sgt. Don Fowler is in charge of school resource officers for the county. He can't give away too much but says schools and police are ready.
"We tend to do a lot of education as far as when this happens, when this particular event happens and you're involved in it, this is what you do. You need to do this quickly, do it immediately to protect yourself or to protect your students," said Fowler.
They go over scenarios from the worst to the routine. They learn from incidents like we told you about last school year including theft, fights and vandalism. Officials say the mere presence of a uniform makes a difference.
"I think it absolutely prevents things. Visibility is very important. We have a good relationship with the Police Department and we work together all the time," said Henrico Schools Safety and Security Coordinator Chris Bailor.
In the event of an emergency, officials do not want parents to rush to the schools. It could be dangerous or a hindrance to police. They'll distribute information through the school district website, a notification system and of course, the local media.