OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Overland Park police officers increased visibility around area schools as a precautionary measure on Friday, after a gunman opened fire on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Overland Park Police spokesman Gary Mason said the extra patrols were dispatched as a precautionary measure.
"We haven't had any credible threats or anything like that that we're worried about, but we just want to ensure the public that we're there," Mason said. "We're wanting to make sure the kids are protected and kind of put the parents at ease."
Vaughn Parker is a co-founder of Strategos International, which over the last ten years has trained 2,500 law enforcement agencies on tactical procedures when dealing with an active shooter. He said since the shooting at Columbine, the way police approach an active school shooting has continued to change.
"Up until Columbine, it was call swat, surround it, contain it and wait for swat," Parker said. "Now it's get inside and get to work. Those people in there don't have the tools or the training to protect themselves."
Also since Columbine, police departments have increased the presence of school resource officers, which can be an effective asset should a shooter enter the building.
"They do know the school inside and out. They know what goes on and can usually pick out a stranger that does not belong and can be the first line of defense if a threat does come up," Mason said.
Parker said the training for teachers has also changed. He's taught hundreds of teachers how to barricade doors and use classroom materials as self-defense weapons.