The Downingtown Area School District held its 5th Annual School Safety Summit on August 9, 2017. Joining district administrators, principals and custodians were law enforcement officials representing our district’s 8 municipalities as well as Chester County DA Tom Hogan. DASD’s Chief Security Officer Tim Hubbard was the presenter. Mr. Hubbard spoke on a variety of topics including the responsibilities of the district’s school resource officers, holding emergency drills for 2017-2018 school year, pipeline safety measures and information on opioid and drug safety awareness. He also gave an update on the district’s new video surveillance system that was approved by the board in 2014.
The district now has 1350 cameras in place throughout its 16 schools and administrative offices. The intent of the cameras is to maintain the safety and protection of students and staff and to help law enforcement officials in the event of a criminal event. Mr. Hubbard noted that once the first cameras were in place and turned on, authorities were able to find and arrest vandals who had drawn grafitti on the outside walls of DHS West and on several Downingtown Borough buildings.
“We noticed a positive change right away in some student behavior”, said Mr. Hubbard. “Some of the he said/she said issues that used to come before principals has stopped. It is pretty hard to say that Johnny has done something when the video shows that Johnny hadn’t even been in the room when the incident happened.”
Stefani Dunne, a Downingtown Borough Police Officer is also the school resource officer for DHS West. A school resource officer serves as counelor, enforcer and mentor in a school building. Officer Dunne spoke about how pleased she is to be part of the DHS West family. She joked that she never thought she’d be going to Prom again, but go she did at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year. Officer Dunne has a degree in education which has greatly benefited both her and the students she meets in the course of her day.
“I think the kids feel really comfortable coming in to talk with me and I’ve even had some come up to my car this summer to say hi. I’m looking forward to returning to my duties at West.”
With the pipeline being in the news, Mr. Hubbard presented some dos and don’ts to those present. He also described some of the danger signals to be aware of when in the vacinity of a pipline, such as a hissing sound, bubbling on the ground, discolored or dead vegetation or dry soil. He urged the principals present to conduct all-event drills that would include the opportunity for students and staff to practice some of the things they would need to do during a pipeline emergency.
Chester County Emergency Services now offers residents the opportunity to sign up for alerts through readychesco.org. This is Chester County’s official source for emergency information and government notifications.