ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 20 years later the trend continues to grow. School shootings have seemed to become the norm in the United States– bringing back those painful memories of shootings like those at Columbine. 18 News sat down with a local school resource officer to find out how things have changed when it comes to school safety.
Deputy Mike Wheeler has been a School Resource Officer at Broadway Academy for the past 5 years, an experience that he says has been rewarding.
Wheeler says, “It’s a rewarding position, besides the protecting aspect of law enforcement there’s the piece of the sense of being apart of this community, I get to put myself out there and build relationships”.
While building relationships with these students is pivotal, Wheeler says when it comes to safety communication is key.
“Our number 1 tool we can use is communication, we communicate to our children, to the parents to the staff, if you see something, hear something, or know something now is the time to communicate”, says Wheeler.
“Whether it be something awful or something very very small or insignificant to something major we need to communicate that when we see it not when we see it and wait 2 and a half days later or after its happened,” says Wheeler.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there have been over 230 school shootings, not including those at Colleges or Universities and according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, there were 103 firearms discharged on school grounds in 2018 alone.
“I think the protocols have tightened up and putting simple checks and balances in place it helps with the security of the building”.
“I think with one thing changing it’s a ripple effect and it has a tendency of making other things going into place and everything follows along it’s definitely important because technology is changing whether it be electronics or otherwise.” says, Wheeler.