In light of the tragic school shooting incident that occurred recently in Newtown, Connecticut, the Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office, on December 17, 2012, unveiled a program to, hopefully, reduce the opportunity for violence within our school community. According to Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman, the program entitled, “Once a Day – Every Day” requires Sheriff’s Office personnel from each respective division to pay unannounced visits to all schools in the county.
“Sheriff’s deputies from the Administrative, Community Services, Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Civil Process, Criminal Warrants, Animal Control and Litter Control are visiting at least one school every day when school is in session,” stated Sheriff Newman. “These visits are being made in addition to the regular visits by our School Resource and D.A.R.E. deputies.”
“As Sheriff of Washington County, I want our office to be as proactive as possible in preventing violence within our school community. By having Sheriff’s Office personnel, both in plain clothes and in uniform, randomly visit the schools, we hope to accomplish this goal,” stated Sheriff Newman. “In addition, I have contacted the Virginia State Police and local town police departments and invited them to assist in this safety initiative.”
Almost a month after the program was initiated, public response has been very positive. School personnel and students are becoming acquainted with more deputies than just their SRO’s and D.A.R.E. Officers; and our personnel are learning the physical layout of the different schools. Several private schools requested that these visits be extended to protect their students, and we have done so. Many parents and teachers have extended their thanks for the added law enforcement presence.
“We will continue to conduct these visits as long as a threat remains, or until it is possible to put a full time School Resource Officer in each school,” stated Sheriff Newman