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North Augusta SWAT team, school officials focus on school safety

Posted: January 7, 2013 - 5:53pm
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Members of the North Augusta Public Safety SWAT team prepare to go through North Augusta Middle School as part of a monthly training session.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Members of the North Augusta Public Safety SWAT team prepare to go through North Augusta Middle School as part of a monthly training session.

School safety was front and center during a walk-through of North Augusta’s public schools by the city’s police SWAT team Thursday.

With most wearing uniforms with the word “Police” on the back, the 21-member team evaluated different areas of the six schools, such as hallways and classrooms, and obtained updated floor plans and safety policies and procedures.

The annual walk-through is part of the team’s training, North Augusta Public Safety Chief John Thomas said at North Augusta Middle School.

“We want to stay on the same page as school officials,” he said, adding that keeping schools safe is a joint effort between school officials and law enforcement. “The school principals are heavily involved in helping us make some decisions and suggestions on what would work and what’s not working. Obviously, the safety of the children is of upmost importance to us and school officials as well.”

Schools appreciate law enforcement’s dedication to school safety, said Wendy Jacobs, the principal at North Augusta Middle.

“It makes us feel that we are providing a safer, more secure environment for our students,” she said.

The team will be debriefed on what they saw during the walk-throughs, said Thomas.

“After having the debriefing, we’ll get together with school officials and talk about some of the things and plan for the upcoming year,” he said.

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