Charlene Sims, Journal staff
Homeland Security assesses county schools
Updated: Feb 11
MOUND CITY – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came in to assess the school resource officer (SRO) program in Linn County two weeks ago.
On Monday, Feb. 6, Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend reported to the commissioners that every school in Linn County was assessed by a person who does safety assessment for safety, security and health for DHS.
Friend said that the assessment went very well and was well received by the schools. There will be a final report that his staff and schools will used to start planning measures that will bring better security to county schools.
He said the report might point out little things like a door that is not locked or larger issues on how to better protect staff and student populations.
Friend told the commissioners it also would give the schools some ideas that they could implement but would not be required.
“It’s a program that we don’t push or ask our schools to put in a new camera system or something like that. We might give them an idea, and we let them take that,” said Friend. “That’s what this report would do.”
He re-emphasized that it was a help thing, not something the sheriff’s office was pushing them to do.
He said it is a great program and his department was really proud of the schools. School administrators assigned some of their people to walk with the DHS inspector through the schools and talk about issues so they received immediate feedback.
“Things like that for our community, especially for when we are talking about those vulnerable populations like in schools and things like that, are really good for us to be doing,” said Friend.
Friend said that his department had been asking for this kind of assessment from an outside source.
The commissioners also learned from Friend that his office has been working with Coffey and Osage counties, which are working on new jail projects similar to Linn County’s. Friend said they also brought Franklin County officials in to look at some systems that Linn County is running.
He said that in the last few months his office had done that with several counties including Johnson, Wyandotte, and Crawford to look at the jail recording system Guardian. For that, Guardian has rebated Linn County $1,500 in this year’s fees.