Special state committee on school shootings has first meeting

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- A group of officials from across North Carolina met for the first time today to address the hottest topic in the nation- school shootings.

Two-dozen members of the new Special Committee on School Shootings came to Raleigh today.

Most of the two-and-a-half hour long meeting was spent bringing those who aren't law enforcement officers up to speed.

Among the speakers were two men from the North Carolina Justice Academy who train police officers.

They explained the tactics police use when responding to active shooters.

One local member of the committee said more specific police training on school shootings might be a good starting point.

"We have instructors across the state who are very well qualified to assist in writing training curriculum to make this a mandatory thing," said Patrice Andrews, Morrisville Police Chief.

She believes annual training isn't enough and that her officers should have special instruction every three months.

Andrews also noted she is the mother of a Wake County Public Schools student so she has more than just a law enforcement stake in this issue.

The committee is co-chaired by Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

He and other committee members who are in law enforcement expressed concerns about student privacy laws.

They believe such laws make school administrators less likely to report their hunches to police.

That's one of the reasons Harrison is also pushing the idea of school systems - especially large ones like Wake County - hiring their own police force.

"I don't know where the money's going to come from but I don't know the answer to that. But I know as large as we are we could definitely use a police department," Harrison told N.C. Department of Public Safety Secretary Eric Hooks.

But Andrews says she hopes funding for the committee's recommended ideas won't be an issue.

"Our kids are priceless. We can find the money," the police chief said adding, "The money is there it's just that we need to get out of our own way to make it happen," said Patrice Andrews.

Although no major proposals came out of this initial meeting, members showed optimism.

One member even hoped that the group would be able to prevent it from happening in our state.
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