See Something Say Something
The number one way to prevent school violence is to report it.
Call 911 first, then notify your school.
The Tacoma Police Department and Tacoma Public Schools are collaborating on a #SeeSomething #SaySomething campaign so that everyone in our community can serve as the eyes and ears of safety—and call 911 so police officers can respond more immediately.
So, what about the design of schools? Tacoma has older schools originally built in the early 1900s, schools that opened within the last year and schools built in many decades in between. Each school was designed for the era in which it was built. As you would expect, the newest schools have design features intended to provide an additional sense of safety. These features may include controlled visitor access through a vestibule entrance through the main office or a video camera connection between the office and the school's front door that requires an office worker to buzz in each visitor.
For a number of years, Tacoma Public Schools has installed multiple passive security camera systems in high schools and middle schools. These camera systems, while not monitored, allow school and law enforcement officials to investigate incidents effectively after they occur. For example, in the recent case of a single gunshot fired in the men's restroom at Oakland High School, law enforcement investigators reviewed the school's security camera system to identify the students involved.
These features, while they may help a school community feel safer, would not prevent an active shooter event. We wish they would. Unfortunately, experience confirms they won't.
With all that said, we firmly believe in the value of "feeling safe" in school. Fact: students who feel safe at school do better academically.
TPD will conduct physical inspections of our schools and make safety recommendations. The School District has hired a contractor to review schools for age and deterioration.
We are committed to combining the safety information from the Tacoma Police Department's review with the independent condition assessment to come up with physical improvements we can recommend to voters as part of a construction bond package.
We expect to have those assessments completed and the proposed package ready for community feedback as early as this fall. Then we can look at putting a final package on the ballot for voters to consider in 2019.
Tacoma Public Schools and the Tacoma Police Department think about school safety every day. The Tacoma School Board made safety one of its four strategic priorities in 2012.
If you know of a threat, call 911.
Who to Call
Threat to a school or a crime in progress - Call 911
Crime not in progress - Call the Non-Emergency TPD Line at (253) 287-4455
Tacoma Public Schools building or property damage - Call TPS Safety and Security at (253) 571-1000
How could we improve safety in our schools?
If you have additional thoughts on what you would like to see happen with school safety, please send your thoughts to us.