9-1-1 Community Partnerships Improve School Safety

School safety experts and public safety innovators joined forces at the 2011 Colorado 9-1-1 Issues Summit to promote community partnering and communications interoperability between school districts and 9-1-1 services.

Online PR News – 30-August-2011 – – DENVER, CO -- School safety experts and public safety innovators joined forces yesterday at the 2011 Colorado 9-1-1 Issues Summit to promote community partnering and communications interoperability between school districts and 9-1-1 services.

Panelists Chris Olson, Mike Coleman, Kathy Morris, Todd Skoglund, and Jeff Miller led a state-level school safety orientation meeting with 9-1-1 professionals and authority board members from across Colorado at the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Building in Golden, Colorado.

Moderator John Simmons announced that the speakers are making themselves available to help districts implement Colorado Senate Bill 11-173, Interoperable Communications in Schools. The measure was introduced by Senator Steve King and signed into law this summer by Governor John Hickenlooper. According to the panel, schools must reach out to local 9-1-1 agencies and include them in their safety plans, training, drills, exercises, and evaluations.

New communications technologies allow schools to more closely work with 9-1-1 to manage chaos during a school emergency. In discussing pilot programs underwritten by SchoolSAFE Communications, the panelists pointed to improved situation size-up, more effective 9-1-1 calls, and better coordination between schools and response agencies before and after the arrival of first responders.

At the governor's signing of SB11-173, Douglas County officials announced that their E911 Authority is providing $1.1 million in new funding to implement interoperable communications in 67 school facilities in the county.

About the Panelists

Chris Olson is the current Manager of Safety and Security for Advantage Security Incorporated. He previously served as the Director of Safety Services for the City of Englewood. He also served as the first President of the Colorado 911 Resource Center, as the President of the Arapahoe County 911 Emergency Telephone Service Authority, and continues as the citizen representative on the PUC 911 Task Force. In addition to being the co-founder of the READYColorado Citizen Preparedness Campaign and Vice-President of Metro Denver Crimestoppers, he is also a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Douglas County. Olson remains very active in radio interoperability issues related to school safety -- both in the field and at the State Capitol.

Mike Coleman is the Vice President of Business Development for SchoolSAFE Communications. He has more than 25 years of service in public safety, retiring as the Administrative Services Bureau Chief of the Douglas County, Colorado Sheriff's Office. Coleman is a graduate of the 198th session of the FBI National Academy program and held various positions with the Douglas County E911 Authority, the Colorado PUC 9-1-1 Taskforce and the Consolidated Communications Network of Colorado. He is active in interoperability issues and has spoken nationally at conferences held by APCO, PSWN, SAFECOM and the Foundation for the Prevention of School Violence.

Kathy Morris has over 25 years experience in the health and safety field, most recently as Southwest Regional Homeland Security Coordinator, and now with the San Juan BOCES as the Regional Safe School Coordinator for nine public schools. Morris was an early adopter of the Colorado School Response Framework when she served as the Safety Compliance Coordinator and Safe Schools Project Director for Durango School District 9-R 2003-2010. She was awarded a Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Education. Her district was selected as one of three sites for the Colorado School Safety Resource Center.

Todd Skoglund is president of Signet North America, providing emergency response and emergency management training and consulting worldwide. He previously has served as a firefighter/hazmat technician with the Association of American Railroads, as well as for the City of Pueblo and Pueblo West. In addition, he has served as an emergency dispatcher for the Pueblo West Fire Department. He is currently a member of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Bureau, serving as Safety Officer for their Fire Team. Skoglund is recognized as a leader in interoperability and incident management challenges related to school safety, providing radio operability and interoperability training and NIMS-based incident management training to public schools, colleges, and universities across the United States and Canada since 2006.

Jeff Miller is presently the Superintendent of Schools in Clear Creek County. He has been a public educator for almost forty years -- here and also in Florida, where he gained national recognition as a champion of school safety and violence prevention, and was invited to President Clinton's Leadership Conference. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on these issues. He has been honored by the U.S. Secretary of Education and also at the White House by President Bush. He served as the Director of the Florida Department of Education's Prevention Center where he coordinated Florida's violence prevention and school safety plan. He has also served as Chairman of the Board, Youth Crime Watch of America.

Further Information

Resources and updates related to Colorado's 9-1-1 community partnering with schools will be posted at the Colorado 9-1-1 Resource Center (www.CO9-1-1ResourceCenter.org), the 9-1-1 Colorado Foundation (www.9-1-1Colorado.org), School Safety Partners (www.SchoolSafetyPartners.org), and School Safety Summit (www.SchoolSafetySummit.org).

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