ALBANY, Ga. — Dougherty County School System police Chief Troy Conley on Monday told the School Board's Security and Safety Committee that his department is working hard to improve security in the district's 26 schools.
"In addition to the Albany Police Department, Dougherty Police Department and the Sheriff's Department, we've recently partnered with the Georgia State Patrol and DNR (Department of Natural Resources) to beef up our school security," Conley said. "We are currently working closely with the local and state agencies and in the process of putting some things together including some full mock active shooter drills. That's a top priority for us."
Conley said that in addition to active shooters, his department is working to keep narcotics and weapons out of the schools.
According to the Georgia Department of Education's 2010-11 Unsafe Schools report — which is the latest available — Conley's fears are well founded. The district reported 29 felony drug and 16 felony weapons violations during the school year.
"We are also keeping an eye out for bullies, fights, possible gang activity, sex offenders and external and internal theft," Conley said.
The chief said the department's goal is to reduce criminal activity in the schools, on the district's buses and at system-sponsored events.
"We are constantly training for worst-case scenarios," Conley said. "We have a seven-member Special Response Team (SRT) for emergency situations. We also have an in-house paramedic on call to also respond to those situations."
According to the state Department of Education, the state's goals are to "to lead the nation in improving student achievement, we have to ensure that all of our schools provide safe, nurturing environments where students can learn and are valued and respected, and to do that we have to maintain stringent standards."
"The focus of the rule is not to label schools as unsafe, but to work with LEAs (law enforcement agencies) proactively to identify those schools at risk of being labeled persistently dangerous and provide them with the professional development and technical assistance they need to improve."