Dickinson County

Public requested to weigh in on proposed Spirit Lake security plans

This story was up to date to incorporate statements made by Spirit Lake Police Chief Shane Brevik in a Nov. 16 e-mail to the Spirit Lake College District. The earlier model of the article was despatched to press previous to Brevik’s assertion being issued.


The Spirit Lake College District is in search of the general public’s ideas on the newest draft of its up to date security plan.

The latest draft of the school’s overall safety policy, is accessible on the college district’s web site — underneath the paperwork tab throughout the human assets part — and was despatched to district households by e-mail Monday afternoon. The plan covers 14 particular emergency responses, equivalent to fires and tornadoes, however solely 4 would advantage a response by armed employees members — unauthorized weapons, an intruder, an armed intruder or a hostage scenario.

Neighborhood suggestions relating to the drafted plan could also be submitted by way of a hyperlink throughout the on-line doc, by emailing districtoffice@spirit-lake.k12.ia.us, by calling 336-2820 and dialing extension 1921 or by scheduling a face-to-face appointment. The general public’s enter have to be acquired by the tip of the day Monday, Nov. 21. Steered modifications will then be thought-about by faculty officers earlier than a particular faculty board assembly is held at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, when the board may probably approve the plan.

The college’s proposed coverage modifications have been met with each resistance and assist after the Spirit Lake College Board voted in August to permit as much as 10 non-teaching employees members to hold weapons on faculty grounds after present process coaching to reply within the occasion of an lively shooter. Spirit Lake Superintendent David Smith mentioned 27 people volunteered to be one of many 10 choose employees members, and he mentioned about 15 have begun the coaching course of. He mentioned no employees has been accepted to hold weapons on campus as of but. Candidates should additionally bear a psychological well being screening, which faculty officers mentioned has but to happen. They will even be required to apply capturing not less than 50 rounds per yr and recertify their coaching yearly. That coaching is being offered by Tony and Jason Petersen of Petersen Firearms Instruction. The 2 function Dickinson County’s Chief Sheriff’s Deputy and Okoboji Police Chief respectively.

“We all know these items is actual,” Smith mentioned, citing a deadly capturing that came about in February exterior a Milford enterprise. “It isn’t a matter of if it will occur to varsities in Iowa or faculties right here. In some unspecified time in the future, one thing like that is going to occur. It is a matter of time.”

Smith went on to notice the college board held a particular session Nov. 9 in response to a gun-related risk made by a pupil — Smith mentioned the board voted to expel the scholar, who was solely recognized as Scholar A on the assembly’s agenda.

Spirit Lake Police Chief Shane Brevik despatched an announcement to the college district two days after their most up-to-date assembly. Brevik indicated the district had beforehand misrepresented his stage of assist for arming faculty employees members, and he famous a number of points with the college’s proposed plans, equivalent to a scarcity of specifics relating to the armed employees members’ annual coaching.

“Up to now, that extra coaching hasn’t been designed or specified, so my opinion is the plan cannot be accepted when so many different crucial items of the puzzle will nonetheless should be found out at a later time,” Brevik wrote.

The police chief mentioned he and Smith, in addition to Spirit Lake’s Director of Particular Initiatives Angela Olsen, had what he referred to as a quick dialogue over the summer season relating to the potential resolution to arm faculty employees members. Brevik mentioned he felt at the moment the overall concepts may have advantage, however he additionally expressed concern to the college officers. He mentioned he was knowledgeable a number of weeks later through a night textual content message that the board had voted to maneuver ahead with the plan, and college officers wished to substantiate his assist earlier than releasing an official assertion to households – such an announcement was launched round 10:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22.

“Not a lot later that very same night, and with out a response from me, a media launch was despatched out indicating the initiative was ‘absolutely supported’ by me, and I consider the identical had been represented to the board on the earlier assembly,” Brevik wrote. “That was not true, and I would by no means indicated I absolutely supported something – on the time of our transient dialogue, there weren’t any particulars offered to kind an opinion about.”

Brevik advisable in his Nov. 16 e-mail that the district spend extra time and assets taking steps to maintain weapons out of the college buildings and, if armed personnel are to be a part of the district’s method, that they be educated professionals.

“I’ve talked with many different regulation enforcement professionals in lots of different jurisdictions, and their opinions are the identical – arming employees is not one of the best response,” Brevik wrote.

Spirit Lake Colleges has partnered with the Spirit Lake Police Division to offer a single useful resource officer on the faculty for a variety of years.

“Instances have modified, and we’re actually to the purpose the place there’s not another choice you will have in a college district, until you’ll have armed faculty useful resource officers in each single constructing full-time, being paid the complete wage,” Smith mentioned throughout Monday’s assembly.

Nevertheless, Brevik mentioned that he believes “arming employees members is an unworkable resolution which additionally has the true potential to offer a false sense of safety for college kids, dad and mom and college personnel and intrude with regulation enforcement efforts within the occasion of an emergency.” The police chief went on to say that, whereas he has no reservations in regards to the high quality of the coaching employees are receiving, earlier claims from the district that the curriculum and workout routines had been the identical regulation enforcement officers should go had been unfaithful. Brevik identified a bit throughout the district’s drafted plan, which he mentioned incorrectly claims the employees candidates’ 40 hours of coaching in marksmanship and capturing are equal to what regulation enforcement officers should bear – Brevik mentioned the Iowa Legislation Enforcement Academy requires 72 hours of intense, hands-on coaching. Brevik went on to say that even skilled officers can have inconsistent accuracy when firing a weapon in real-world conditions, and he believes an armed member of the college employees would extra doubtless fail to fireplace their weapon throughout an lively shooter scenario or injure an harmless particular person in the event that they did pull the set off.

“The concept the district is suggesting it’s forming some advert hoc tactical unit, which the plan suggests, could be very regarding,” Brevik wrote.

The college’s present drafted coverage specifies the district would buy firearms, ammunition, holsters, safes and different tools like flashlights and medical kits for the licensed people. Employees who’re licensed to hold weapons may select to hold their private firearm with the superintendent’s approval. The college would additionally present gun vary memberships for apply and coaching. Kate Mendenhall, who recognized herself as a district alumnus and father or mother of present elementary college students, addressed the college board Monday and questioned how the anticipated prices compares with probably hiring extra pupil useful resource officers. Smith estimated hiring a full-time useful resource officer for every of the district’s buildings would price the college $240,000 yearly, which he felt could be unsustainable.

The proposed plan went on to say the chosen employees members could be licensed to hold a firearm on faculty grounds, buses, inside district buildings and at house actions and occasions. The people wouldn’t be allowed to hold weapons at college occasions exterior the district, “until permissible by that college district.” The drafted coverage would enable the employees to take the weapons house and retailer them in school-issued safes, however the weapons will not be for use off campus. The coverage says a course of can be in place to doc when tools is checked out, however the present draft didn’t go into specifics.


Copyright Dickinson County News 2022
Spirit Lake College Board member Sonja Hamm listened as the general public addressed the board relating to proposed modifications to the district’s security plans. (Picture by Seth Boyes)


Olsen, whom the district’s plan named as an emergency coordinator for the district, mentioned within the occasion of an assault, the armed employees members would take up strategic positions on campus — particular assigned places can be saved confidential. Officers mentioned the district’s aim is for armed people to reply to a possible shooter inside 30 seconds of an assault.

“It is about strategic places and having individuals close to the places the place they’re most certainly to occur, and that is a special location in each constructing,” Olsen mentioned. “In the highschool, it is the entrance workplace and the cafeteria. Within the center faculty, it is hallways and lecture rooms, and within the elementary it is usually from the skin.”

Olsen defined the armed employees who initially reply to an emergency would flip the scenario over to regulation enforcement as officers arrive, however Brevik mentioned that method could also be counterproductive.

“There is no such thing as a assure that armed employees members would reply extra rapidly than regulation enforcement, however velocity is not the reply in itself,” he wrote. “It is not attainable to listing all of the ways in which a person who cannot be adequately ready for an lively shooter scenario might make the scenario worse. Any of these outcomes would lead to extra hurt, extra delay and interference with regulation enforcement’s response.”

Mendenhall additionally requested the board Monday to contemplate extending the window for public remark till Dec. 14 in mild of the upcoming Thanksgiving vacation. The board didn’t agree to take action Monday, however Board President Teresa Beck indicated the particular assembly might be pushed again if the board members want extra time to course of the suggestions they obtain.



Click on the file under to view the Spirit Lake College District’s Emergency Response Plan:

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