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“Protect our students and staff:” Kenosha County Sheriff wants schools to reevaluate fire drill policy

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) – Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth sent a letter to school administrators on Friday to reconsider their policies for fire drills and evacuations.

This comes after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and staff.

According to officials, the suspect pulled the fire alarm before the shooting alerting students and staff to exit the building.

“I wanted to stir the conversation up inside schools and I want them to think of the extra safety step to keep staff and students safe,” said Beth.

In the letter, Beth states, “In the case of a false alarm being pulled with the intent of a shooter to ambush as many people as possible in an already chaotic situations makes it far too easy to fulfill his mission, kill or injure as many people as possible in a short amount of time.”

One of the things he proposed in the letter is having a staff member check outside the exit to determine if the area is safe for students to leave. 

Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig wants to be involved in the conversation but says there are fire safety measures that need to be kept in mind.

“I can understand why people would be concerned about fire drills or exiting the building because of this. However, if there is a fire we need to evacuate quickly,” said Leipzig.

Leipzig said it may take more than the sheriff’s and fire departments to make changes.

“Fire drills need to exist if it's changed it needs to be a multi-governmental jurisdictional conversation,” said Leipzig.

CBS 58 reached out to Kenosha Unified School District to see if it plans on making any changes. The district said it has not had the time to review policies with the team.

“My goal is for them to get them thinking of one more thing that they can put into place especially since this last occurrence in Florida,” said Beth.

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