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Educators, police meet to discuss school security at Phoenix seminar

PHOENIX — Hundreds of educators and law enforcement officers had security on their minds when they met at a seminar in Phoenix Thursday.

They especially were thinking of security in schools.

One of the things taught at the seminar is that it doesn’t take long for a shooter to do quite a bit of damage at a school.

“The FBI recently came out with statistics that show that in the majority of cases, the shooting is over in five minutes, and in 39 percent of the cases, it’s over in two minutes,” said Tom Foley, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the organizer of today’s event at the Hilton Garden Inn near Sky Harbor International Airport.

“In a lot of cases, when the police show up, the shooting is already over,” he said.

That means that school officials may be on their own in the first few minutes of an attack.

Today’s seminar tackled that issue with lessons on what to do in the case of an attack or lockdown situation.

Participants learned that schools can make their windows more resistant, so that it would take longer for a gunman to break through the glass.

They also learned one of the mistakes at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults during a rampage on Dec. 14, 2012.

Foley said in that incident, the school was not equipped with locks on the inside of classroom doors. The protocol was that the janitor would go around and lock the doors from the outside during a lockdown situation.

“In an event that lasts two minutes, you don’t have time to have somebody else going through the halls (locking doors),” said Foley. “What happens when that person gets shot?”

Foley said that Arizona educators definitely want to learn more about how to keep their campuses secure.

“Every school that I’ve dealt with, the reception is ‘Tell us anything that we can do to make our kids safer,'” he said.