Sheriff Dave Walcher is one of just 10 law enforcement officials, school executives, and mental health professionals across the country selected to serve on a school safety committee convened by the National Sheriff’s Association. The committee will create a working document of recommendations and best practices to create uniformity in prevention, response and recovery to school shooting incidents. “These tragic incidents are constantly evolving and our approach related to prevention and response should also evolve,” said Sheriff Walcher.
The committee will work to identify education, training and resources to promote cooperative efforts between law enforcement, mental health providers, school administration and the communities they serve. They will also establish a list of common indicators of threats based on past incident case studies and identify system “gaps” that need to be addressed.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, through Sheriff Walcher, is honored to be contributing to this effort. The Sheriff’s Office has first-hand knowledge of the tragedy surrounding a school shooting. After Claire Davis was killed in Arapahoe High School in 2013, the agency put in motion a plan to do everything possible to ensure it never happened again. As just one example, after becoming Sheriff, Dave Walcher more than doubled the number of school resource officers (SROs) in the agency from six to 13.
“The SROs have been deployed to provide the best coverage possible to protect our children,” according to Sheriff Walcher. “It’s the most important thing we can do. We owe it to the Davis family, and to Claire, to make sure no other family suffers as they have. By providing agencies the tools and procedures to take preventive measures, and learn to identify a potential crisis before anything bad happens, we can work toward preventing school shootings across the country.”
For his part, Sheriff Walcher has an experience with school violence that few other law enforcement executives possess. As a lieutenant with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, he served as the incident commander during the tragedy at Columbine High School, coordinating a multi-agency response plan. He was serving as the undersheriff at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office when the shooting at Arapahoe High School happened. They are experiences he would have preferred to never have had, tragedies he wishes had never happened, but he hopes that he can use the knowledge he gained through them to help others.
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