Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

School system, sheriff’s office team up for additional safety

Lisa Bradley has spent the last three years answering anywhere from 75 to 400 phones calls a day as a receptionist at David Crockett High School. As a gatekeeper of sorts at the school, Bradley directs calls, answers questions and even manages who comes in and out of the facility.
So it was no surprise back in September when she was the one to take a call reporting that a bomb was somewhere inside the school.
“It was just a normal day when I answered the phone as I usually do and a young man said, ‘There’s a bomb in the building,’” Bradley recalled. “You think, ‘Excuse me? Did I misunderstand you?’”
Although it turned out to be just a threat, Bradley didn’t know that at the time. She was forced to take immediate action in hopes of protecting the hundreds of students inside the school that day.
“My immediate reaction was to call 9-1-1,” she said. “Our School Resource Officer was walking in, so I told him and he immediately got hold of authorities.”
Bradley knows Crockett already has several safety measures in place to protect students and staff at the school, like the on-site SRO and limited access to the building. Visitors must ring a doorbell to gain entry.
“I’m the only one who can allow you through those front doors,” Bradley said. “People always ask me if I think it’s annoying to have to answer that buzzer all day, but I don’t mind it at all. It’s just one more way to keep us safe in here.”
Now, a new joint venture between the Washington County school system and the sheriff’s office will bring an additional level of safety to all county schools.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for several years,” said Ron Dykes, director of schools. “But it’s just now, through grants and such, becoming practical for us.”
Through the use of technology, police officers will be able to sync up their laptops and main command center to any of the county schools’ security camera systems.
“It’s so that we have some eyes and ears already in that school should something happen,” Sheriff Ed Graybeal said. “I hope we never have to use it, but in case we ever have something like a shooter in one of our schools, we’ll be better prepared to handle it.”
Being able to pinpoint the exact spot where a problem is taking place inside a school will make a huge difference in how quickly police can put an end to the situation.
“We can never make every area 100 percent safe all the time. We simply try to implement every resource we can to attempt to do so,” Dykes said. “When an officer drives up in a crisis situation and already has eyes from the outside world on what’s actually happening in the hallways, that is just another level of added security.”
Although Bradley says she already feels safe inside the county high school, she admits the new safety measure has her breathing a little easier.
“I think it’s fabulous. There is a camera right over my desk and several throughout the building,” Bradley said.
“To know, that from Jonesborough on their way here, they can already be scanning the school and seeing what is going on – that is just amazing.”