MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) — Schools and law enforcement in Berkeley County are looking to develop a closer bond in light of two recent school shootings — the first in Connecticut and a second one in California.
On Thursday, the chief of the State Law Enforcement Divisions, Mark Keel, called for an officer in every South Carolina school.
"Educators are there to teach and not be security officers, and I believe they've got enough to do already," said Keel.
During the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 20 children and six adults were shot to death.
"That school did everything right. They had every procedure in the book that they were supposed to have," said Berkeley County spokesperson Amy Kovach.
School districts, including Berkeley County, have all started re-evaluating their own safety procedures.
"What we have talked about is partnering with our police municipality officers as well as the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office so that they will increase patrol stops just like they would on a regular beat patrol. They'll make more frequent stops to those schools," said Kovach.
Charleston and Georgetown school districts have said that they plan to add more officers to their schools, but for Berkeley County, Kovach says that's not practical at this time.
"Putting an officer in every single building is an extensive resource, both time and money, and we're just not at that place yet," said Kovach.
But along with a closer partnership with local law enforcement, the district is conducting what it calls a safety audit of its schools.
"We are working on interior safety precautions: everything from doorways, entrances, and exits, making sure they have the right locking procedures. We're also examining our exterior perimeter as well," said Kovach.
Kovach says it's all part of an effort to keep students protected.
"Every single employee in that building would do absolutely anything it takes to protect those children," she said.
The Berkeley County School District currently has resource officers at middle and high schools. Safety drills are also held in the district several times per semester.
Keel says he is against a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns inside the classroom. He says it would make it harder for officers to distinguish between a threat and an armed civilian.