Clay County stays prepared with Active Threat Response Plan

Local4 News at 6
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 4:54 PM CDT
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CLAY CENTER, Neb. (KSNB) - Tuesday’s threat that put Sandy Creek Schools in lockdown highlights the importance of having a plan in place.

Clay County officials are continuously working to stay prepared.

Emergency Manager/911 Director Haley Malone said they’ve always had a plan but about a year ago, some of the sheriff’s deputies got more specialized training and realized they needed to take another look at their plan.

Malone, along with the sheriff’s office, worked with schools to update their Active Threat Response Plan.

“You don’t want to be caught off guard with no plan,” said Chief Deputy Sean Julich with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Julich worked with Malone and others to make sure everyone knows what role they have when a situation arrives.

Malone said from students to staff to administration, emergency management, dispatch and the sheriff’s office, the more they can drill for this then the better off they will be.

“We never thought we would put it into place so quickly,” Malone said.

Chief Deputy Julich said the school did a phenomenal job.

“They run these drills constantly,” he said. By doing this, they are able to reevaluate the plan and change it, if something didn’t work.

He said just last month when schools were getting hoax calls, they took another look at their plan and adjusted.

“I remember when my son was in kindergarten and he came home and told me he had an active intruder drill and I was at first upset,” Malone said. She wondered why the schools were putting this added stress on children, but now understands.

“The reality is in the world we live in, the threat is ongoing, it can happen here,” she said. “I am thankful that our schools do take this seriously as we’ve seen it can happen.”

As we saw in this case, outside agencies helped in the response and arrest on the threat suspect.

Both Malone and Julich say having these good working relationships is necessary in rural Nebraska, where they have smaller agencies.

Malone said they rely on outer agencies and plan for this.

“We have good communication and working relationships on a normal every day basis so when we need them, we need their help in crisis situations, everyone is on the same page,” she said.

Malone also praised the Clay County dispatchers for how they responded on Tuesday.

Malone said Kelly Lovgren was on duty when that first 911 call came in. She said it was her responsibility to gather the information and get the ball running, dispatching the sheriff’s office, emergency management, etc.

“That one person has to do the job of 10 at a time,” she said. “Their role is vital in how things progress in the field.”