Arizona school security expert talks lock-down drills active-shooter situations

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
James Dorer, security director for Scottsdale Unified School District. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) James Dorer, security director for Scottsdale Unified School District. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Families in Florida sent their kids to school this morning, as do millions more across every state every day, but today some of those students never came home. 

"It breaks my heart, it's really obviously a sad situation. And my heart goes out to all those responding to it as well," said James Dorer, security director for Scottsdale Unified School District.

Dorer knows parents want to make sure their kids are safe in the classroom. 

"Even though we see these way too often, we still know that schools are safe place overall and that our kids are safer in school than they are out of school," said Dorer. 

The State of Arizona mandates all public schools practice two lock down drills each year. Students at SUSD do three per year.

Dorer is in charge of coming up with tailored active shooter plans for all of the district's 30 schools. Each school campus is uniqu, and so are their lock-down drills.

"It varies from campus to campus. We have varying sizes in our campuses from a small elementary to a very large high school," he said.

To prepare for a real-life situation, Dorer says getting the message out quickly to other classrooms is the number one thing they all practice. 

"Whoever the first person is to see something that is out of the ordinary, or God forbid there's now shots being fired on your campus, whoever that first person is gets that information to the front office so they can immediately get the lock down going," said Dorer. 

He says preventing a shooting also has to do with school culture. He encourages students speak up if they see something suspicious.

"I'd like to think of our safety as built in layers, and our goal is to have enough layers to be able to stop whatever is planning to happen from happening," said Dorer. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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