By Colleen Ferreira (email@example.com)
Click here to follow Colleen on Twitter
5:49 PM EST, February 5, 2013
SOUTH BEND – It's been nearly two months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
That mass shooting caused schools across the country to look again at their safety procedures.
"I think a police officer would make all students feel safe," said mother Kathleen Staton-Neubauer.
"Don't have to worry about kids going to school," said father Richard Gonzalez.
It's a plan to put parents, teachers and students at ease.
And the presence of a police officer could do just that.
"We're here to build relationships," said Lt. Eric Crittendon with the South Bend Police Department. "And keep these relationships going, and make kids feel comfortable."
The South Bend Police Department initiated the program a few weeks ago after the Sandy Hook tragedy. During weekday patrols, officers will visit schools to make sure kids and staff feel safe.
"It doesn't cost taxpayers, school corporation, police, any money," Crittendon said. "So, basically coming up with this proactive idea, utilize it and prevent certain tragedies."
Officers will take 15-20 minutes out of their daily patrols and walk through a school. They'll get to know the ins and outs of each school.
"Eventually, we're gonna get to the point where they make sure doors are locked. Each will receive copies of floor plans, just maintain the safety of the building," Lt. Crittendon said.
Officers say with this training, just in case there's an emergency, they won't go into a school blindly. These walk throughs will allow students to build trust in law enforcement and give parents a sense of peace.
"I think it gives people an extra sense of security all over," Staton-Neubauer said.
"It would be safer if a cop is nearby so if something happens they can respond a little faster," Gonzalez added.
Officers will visit schools that don't have police officers assigned to them. That's mainly the primary schools.
Officers don't have a scheduled time to be here. They plan to pop in and pop out during their daily patrols.
Copyright © 2013, WSBT-TV