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Police, Fire, and Mayor’s Response to Florida Tragedy

CITY OF BUCKHANNON – MAYOR’S OPENING STATEMENT at Buckhannon City Council Meeting– February 15, 2018

            We are all saddened by the horrific mass killing in Parkland, Florida yesterday.  In the 24 plus hours since the shooting that claimed 17 lives with many others wounded, some critically, I’ve had conversation with people in our community, and I suppose we all seek reassurance that nothing like that ever could happen here.  I’m sure the good folks in Parkland/Boca Raton mostly thought when they sent their kids off to school that nothing like that ever could occur there either.

            Of course it could happen here, or any place else in the United States.  There were precious young people who died yesterday, and there were older people who died.  There were Republicans, Democrats, liberally minded folks, conservatively minded people, catholics, baptists, white, black, & Hispanic people who were shot and killed.

            We have to do something different in this country than what we’ve done so far to address this horror.  This was the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in the first 45 days of 2018.  There have been more than 300 school shooting incidents since 2013 in the U.S.  Enough… is enough.  I’ve asked our police and fire chiefs about our state of readiness here in Upshur County.  Here’s what Matt Gregory & J.B. Kimble tell us-

           Joint statement from the Buckhannon Police Department and Buckhannon Fire Department

As members of the Buckhannon-Upshur Public Safety community, our hearts and prayers go out to those struggling with the school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida.  These senseless acts of violence, which are unfortunately much too common in today’s world, never cease to shock the conscience of our society.  We want to assure the residents of our community, that while absolute prevention of this type of violence is something that may never be achieved completely, the police department and fire department nevertheless works tirelessly to ensure the safety of our community’s schools.  Through not only the close, professional working relationship that we have between our agencies, but also with other public safety agencies and especially the Upshur County Board of Education and all Upshur County Schools, we stand ready to respond should any harm present itself to our students or school staff.  Beyond this, in an effort to avoid this type of tragedy, meetings between each of these respective agencies occur regularly, safety plans are in place and are discussed and tested frequently, and the layout of each of the school buildings are well known.  In addition, the placement of PRO officers at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School from the Buckhannon PD and at the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle and High Schools by the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department only stand to enhance the safety of our children, our teachers, and all school staff.  The safety of our schools is of the utmost priority to each of our agencies and as we come to work each and every day, we will always strive for this goal. – Police Chief Matt Gregory and Interim Fire Chief J.B. Kimble

I ask that we keep all of the people of south Florida in our deepest thoughts and prayers this evening.

-Mayor David McCauley