Elkhart police, school officials offer assurances on school safety

The Elkhart Police Department and Elkhart Community Schools restated how they're keeping kids safe at schools.

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 15, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.

ELKHART — Elkhart Community Schools and Elkhart Police Department officials had a press conference this morning, April 15, to emphasize how they work daily to keep students safe, not just when a threat arises.

Elkhart police released information last week about a threat to schools in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties. According to the release, an unknown person threatened to “kill 20 kids in five different schools” today.

Doug Thorne, executive director of personnel and legal services for Elkhart Schools, said at a press conference this morning at Pinewood Elementary that today is likely the safest day to be at school. Thorne and Laura Koch, assistant chief of the Elkhart Police Department, talked about how extra police officers are patrolling areas around schools.

Thorne also explained how schools hold drills for fires, storms and lockdown situations regularly. They also have procedures in place to deal with numerous types of threats or possible threatening situations.

Those preparations and the work with police happens with or without threats, though.

“That partnership exists on a day-to-day basis,” but the public usually doesn’t see it, Thorne said.

“It’s hard to access the credibility of any threat, so we take any threat seriously,” he said.

Thorne also said that parents he has talked to are comfortable having their kids at school today.

“We are putting in place measures to make our schools safe,” he said.

Some parents indicated they would keep students home today. Baugo Director of Operations Nate Dean, who was not at the press conference, said the Jimtown High School’s parking lot was “about half-full compared to normal” as school started.

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