'We are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem'

'We are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem' »Play Video
State educators and local law enforcement officers meet in Yakima. Photo by Michael Spears
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Security at campuses here in the valley continues to get attention months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

KIMA was there Thursday as the state's school safety committee met in Yakima.

A local deputy and a school security coordinator spoke about their efforts.

"We are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem," said Yakima County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Brian Winter.

A problem put under a microscope after the school shooting in Newtown.

"Our goal in Yakima County is to make our schools so hard to get into, that all that law enforcement has to do is respond and deal with the bad guy," said Winter.

Lt. Brian Winter and School Safety and ESD 105 Security Coordinator Randy Town are working with local school districts.

"We are doing school walkthroughs," said Winter.

Their first recommendations: Make only one entrance available to the public and lock every door that can get into the building.

Town and Winter are trying to establish standardized lockdown and evacuation plans for every school in the valley.

"We are always trying to identify technology that lets use respond more efficiently," Winter said.

Deputies said this school in Terrace Heights is being built with technology that's in sync with the sheriff's office.

Meaning, those small white access cards and that deputy’s carry around can be swiped here during an emergency to get into the building.

But right now the technology for every school isn't a reality.

A bill that recently passed the State Senate would pay for panic alarms.

Millions of dollars would be spent on school security on a case-by-case basis.

"We'll deal with the other cost-laden issues later, but let's get some basic security established," said ESD 105 School Safety and Security Coordinator Randy Town.

Winter and Town already sent surveys to districts and identified the schools that need the most work.

"Parents were actually knocking on the doors of the principals say what are doing to protect our kids?" Town said.

Between weekly meetings and updating emergency procedures, It's clear this is only the first page of a safety manual that's still being re-written.

KIMA learned several districts are already working on their own with local police departments but are being receptive to the ideas from this effort.