Saturday, February 6, 2010

Discussion about Body Found at Norwalk Elementary School Grounds

Synopsis of Incident: (This is a follow up discussion to the article posted yesterday about the incident in South Norwalk and the associated school preparedness issues). A school janitor found the body of a murder victim directly behind the outside of the rear of the school building before the school day. The location on school grounds is now a crime scene which means two things. There will be a slow and detailed crime scene investigation and building media attention. Using the incident (emergency) management cycle as a template here are some of the issues for consideration for the school’s preparedness team, if they have one.

Incident Management Cycle:

Prevention & Mitigation: Why would a number of neighbors hear gunshots and not call the police? Had the police been called promptly, the victim may have been saved seven hours early. What if a group of school children walking to school found the body instead of the janitor?

Preparedness: Is the school administration trained in Incident Command Post (ICP) procedures? Training is available free online from a FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI). The school’s ICP would be activated and use the incident management cycle process to handle this incident.

Response: What are the procedures for dealing with a potentially injured person once discovered? Call 911, check for a pulse & provide First Aid. If believed it to be a dead body, ensure the view of the body and the crime scene is obscured from students, faculty, neighbors, and media without contaminating the scene.

o Prepare for the arrival of the Police to provide support and the arrival of the Media.

o What is the public affairs message you want to get out? What message do you want to get out to the students, the parents, and community?

What is the immediate / short term, mid term, and long term impact of this incident upon ongoing school operations?

Recovery: Clean up the crime scene and provide post incident (short term and long term) counseling resources for student body and staff as required. What are the after-hours activities (drinking, drugs, groups of kids /gangs, vandalism, etc.) on your school grounds and the surrounding area? Use this incident to establish and improve the relationship with the school’s local community to remind them of their role in keeping your school safe and secure. The local residents need to view the school as their school, not just a school. What CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) improvements (cameras, lighting, etc.) can be made to mitigate future criminal activity at or near the school?

If this school did not have a school preparedness team, how effectively did they or would they have managed this incident...?

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