When schools go into lockdown, don't call 911 to get info

I have received a few questions about the recent school “Lockdown” that occurred this week. Here’s a little bit about what happened.

On March 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm, our police officers responded to the report of an armed robbery at the Maps Credit Union, located on Newberg Highway. It was discovered that the suspect in this case was armed with a firearm and had fled on foot toward Broughton Way. French Prairie Middle School and Lincoln Elementary are with walking/running distance of this intersection so, as a precaution, the Woodburn Police Department requested the two schools to go into “Lockdown.”

A “Lockdown” is utilized by the schools when there is a potentially dangerous situation on school grounds or within close proximity of the school, such as an armed robbery. A “Lockdown” can be requested by the police department or it can be initiated by school staff depending on the situation. The City and the school district have an excellent relationship and practice for these types of events so that, when quick action needs to be taken to secure our schools, it can be done effectively.

Word of the “Lockdown” spread quickly throughout the community. In this day and age, you hear those words and instantly your mind goes to school shootings that have happened in recent years. It is alarming for everyone involved, especially parents.

There are varying degrees of “Lockdown” and it depends on the situation on how severe or tight security will be. In this week’s incident, the school doors were locked and no people were let in our out. When the situation was under control and deemed safe, the schools were notified and resumed normal activities.

If you as a parent learn of a “Lockdown” at your child’s school, please do not call 911. During serious situations 911 operators are very busy coordinating police and fire responses. You may call the police department’s non-emergency information line; however, little information may be available.

The volume of phone calls to the school or school district is also going to be high, so there may be a delayed response from them as well. Police also advise parents, regardless of how tempting it may be, not to drive to the school and attempt to gain entry. This could be very problematic during a serious incident and potentially putting more people in harm’s way. During a serious event, the Woodburn Police Department will utilize the school district office, our own public information officer as well as the media to disseminate important information.

The overall goal is safety and providing protection for each of the students, employees and other personnel on campus during these situations.

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