WALKER, Mich. — Walker police are working with schools to help them prepare for the worst before it happens.
The department is distributing “lockdown buckets” for students and staff filled with things that they may need during an extended lockdown. Buckets have materials to barricade a classroom door, a first aid kit, a tourniquet to treat injuries and other practical care items.
“We need to empower the staff and students to know they’re truly the first responders, and then giving them some tools to help themselves while they’re waiting for us to get there,” said Mitch Harkema, Walker community resource officer.
While it’s a situation no parent wants to think about, police say preparation can help prevent tragedies from the past happening again.
“All too often we learn from a tragic event, there’s lessons learned, but anything we can learn from the past and pre-apply to the future before another event happens is great,” Harkema said.
Walker police have already started handing the lockdown buckets out to local schools, starting at Cummings Elementary School in Grandville.
Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Roger Bearup said parents have been supportive of the idea.
“The overwhelming response I’ve received has been so positive. they’re so thankful for us being proactive for partnering with our local police departments,” he said.
Because things can happen rapidly during an emergency, police are preparing schools for the worst and having them prepare lists to check should the situation arise.
“Obviously your mind works very differently in an emergency so fewer words is always better so if they can look at a picture and match it up to what they need to be doing, we’ve found that is probably going to be beneficial,” Harkema said.
School staffs are also asked to put a class roster with photos and names with any other pertinent information they might need in response to an emergency.
The plan is to continue raising money and distributing the buckets to schools and once spring comes, schools will get emergency training with the buckets.
“It’s unfortunate that teachers have to go through this training, unfortunate students have to go through but just that being prepared helps control the scare in an emergency,” Harkema said.
Walker police will hold a “Pizza with Police” event Nov. 12 to raise money for the project.