Kittitas County increases school security

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash.-- In Kittitas County, schools are also increasing security for student safety. Added patrols and new ideas for how to handle emergencies are in place. Kids went back to class with more law enforcement officers on campus. Kittitas County Deputies and Ellensburg Police teamed up with schools to increase security and add more patrols.

"We'll have our sheriff's department and the police department be more visible throughout the school district hopefully on a daily basis," director of teaching and learning Mike Nollan said.

The goal is to have a constant officer presence in every school throughout Kittitas County. The School Resource Officer based at Ellensburg high school will now make routine trips to the middle school and elementary school.

Adding more security measures has been a topic of discussion since before Sandy Hook, however. They have been in place since a scare in their own neighborhood in late 2012.

In November, high school student Chance Kidder came to school with a bullet wound through his chest. Administrators thought there was a gunman on campus until they learned what really happened.

"He'd shot himself off campus, went to the school," Nollan said.

Nevertheless, that incident prompted administrators to take another look at security and come up with ways to improve how they handle emergencies. They will meet regularly with police to find those answers.

"We're looking at a number of things. In our newer buildings, we feel like we're pretty well off. At some of our older buildings, there's some communication technology that could be in place," Nollan said.

Older buildings like Lincoln Elementary School. For now, students are walking on campus with more eyes watching them.