MEDINA: The city’s police department deployed officers in cruisers to each of the 10 Medina City Schools’ buildings and the Medina County Career Center on Monday to deter any potential copycat incidents in the wake of the shootings in Chardon.
One student was killed and four others injured early Monday morning at Chardon High School.
A special alert was listed on the Medina Police Department’s Facebook page, stating that the patrols are a precautionary measure. There has been no indication of any threats to any of the Medina schools.
Cruisers were dispatched between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., when school and police officials first learned of the Chardon shootings. Police from Montville and Medina townships were called for assistance.
The same procedure will be enforced today and possibly again Wednesday.
“We have one car at each school,” Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said. “Unless the officers have a specific call that is a priority, the officers were asked to sit at the school, go into the school, be around the school, so that the visual presence is there.
“If an officer is dispatched to, say, a bad accident, the officer would have to handle it and then come back to the school. That’s the way we are doing it because most departments our size can’t sustain that kind of manpower forever.”
Just as the cruisers were being sent out, Berarducci said, Medina Superintendent Randy Stepp called and asked for the increased presence as a deterrent and to also calm people.
Stepp also sent an email to parents.
“As a parent I know how concerning this type of news is for you,” he said, referring to the incident in Chardon. “I want to assure you that we have your children’s safety as a high priority.”
He said it is “important that we all take emergency preparedness seriously. I encourage you to take some time to review with your children the seriousness of following all emergency procedures at school. … If your children have questions or concerns about their role in an emergency, please encourage them to discuss this with their teacher or building principal.
“I appreciate your support as we work together to do everything we can to keep your children safe.”
Berarducci said the response of sending out cruisers is part of the “critical incident plan” Medina police and school officials put in place two years ago.
“We’ve been involved in some joint training with the schools and split the training costs,” Berarducci said. “The training stressed communication. We came up with an understanding on both sides what we will do in various situations and how quickly we will do it.
“This action is designed to give our parents peace of mind as the Chardon situation is sorted out.”
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.