The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

January 13, 2013

Windber updates security plans

WINDBER — Students might be sitting down with lunch trays or running in gym class the next time an emergency drill kicks off at Windber Area High School.

It might be a surprise for faculty too, Superintendent Rick Huffman said.

“We’re all required to have our annual drills. But many times you see schools scheduling them when its nice and sunny outside, or a day when it’s really convenient for everyone,” Huffman said. “Emergencies don’t happen on our schedule. Fires don’t check the weather forecast.”

“Comfort,” he added, “is the enemy of security. We have to keep changing things up.”

Unexpected fire and lockdown drills are likely just one change the district’s students, faculty and staff will see from what Huffman described as a multiphase process to enhance safety and security in Windber schools.

The board has continued updating it yearly since the Columbine school shooting in 1999. The massacre last month at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,  serves as a stark reminder that school security measures must be ever-changing, he added.

“A lot of what we’re doing is fine-tuning what we’ve done in the past,” he said, saying entry “buzzer” system and other measures will likely be reviewed.

Access to the building may be limited even further, the superintendent added.

District administration have been meeting weekly with area emergency officials, including Paint Township police Chief Rick Skiles.

Skiles is volunteering his time.

“He’s been a big help,” Huffman said, noting Skiles suggested nationally-recommended tips for modifying lockdowns.

 A local police officer, similar to the school resource officer utilized years ago at Windber, may return, district officials said.

The position was funded by the Drug Free Schools program but the money dried up about three years ago, Huffman added.

It will be up to the board to decide whether to create a new position – and if so, how to best use the officer, he noted.

“A lot of this won’t happen overnight,” he said. Some changes could be coupled with upcoming necessary school renovations.

Additional cameras are possible, too, Huffman said.

“We know that there’s no such thing as the perfect secure environment,” he said. “But we’re going to do our best to make sure we are prepared for whatever could come our way.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads