It's during tragedies that we learn a lot about ourselves, and since the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings many law enforcement agencies have been taking a deeper look at their departments in order to strengthen them.Officials throughout the state of Georgia were given the chance to do just that on Thursday during the third and final day of the Safety in our Schools conference in Columbus."I think the important thing is having that toolbox and having it full, and having it full with so many tools to deal with so many issues that could arise in any institution, any educational institution in one of our states. That's what's important, and that's what we're doing here today," said Lieutenant J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.Officials heard firsthand from Lt. Vance how they could grow from the shooting that affected the entire country, including those in Dougherty County."We come here hoping to learn from that tragedy, hoping to implement some firsthand proactive procedures that may deter an incident of this nature occurring in Dougherty County," said Chief Troy Conley of the Dougherty County School System Police Department.Front offices that were once less of a focus have now become a training ground after many saw the important role they play in a school's safety."They are the hub of the school. If you take out the front office, then you have access to the entire school so it's important for those people to have training that they need," said Georgia Emergency Management Agency SchoolSafety Coordinator Danielle Graham.Through those tips, local officers say they can take the foundation that they've already put in place and build upon it to better protect their counties."That's the business that we're in, to be helpful to communities that we serve and to be preventive if we can prevent things from occurring and certainly to all work together in the exchange of information in law enforcement and emergency management," said Lt. Vance.Lt. Vance adds he, too is walking away with a lot of usable information and says though the same tactics won't work for all agencies, each and every officer present will go home with a better idea of how to adapt their department to prevent another incident like Sandy Hook.
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