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Local school safety officials paying close attention after Texas shooting

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Posted at 11:23 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 23:23:49-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — As people across the country grieve the loss of the students and teachers at Robb Elementary School in Texas, they are also scrutinizing their own action plans in the event of an active shooter.

"I can't think of anything that's more unimaginably tragic," said Jeff Abrams, a deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and the safety coordinator for Franklin County Public Schools.

He says they are always trying to evolve their response plans to make sure they are as effective as possible. The schools do regular lockdown drills and Abrams says the teachers and students take them seriously.

"I don't think anyone's ever truly 'prepared'. That's something so horrific that it's difficult to ever be truly prepared, either physically or mentally for it. I feel like we definitely take it seriously. We never cut corners. We're always dedicated to improving on what we have," Abrams said.

As technology gets more advanced, so do its capabilities.

"This is a map of Western Hills High School. This is the floorplan, basically," Abrams said, as he zoomed around a map of the school on his phone. Icons on the Prodatakey app show the security status of exterior doors. "I can open this and immediately, I can see that these doors are locked. If they're not locked, they're yellow and that lock icon shows that they're unlocked,"

If a door remains open for a suspicious length of time, red flags start flying.

"If it's opened and it stays open for more than five or seven seconds, depending on the setting, it activates what's called 'prop alarm'. It sends text message notifications to the administrative staff and the SRO to say, 'Hey, look, there's a door that's open on the exterior of the school," he said.

Abrams says they're confident in their abilities, but never under the impression that they can't make things even safer.

"The moment you begin to think that we know it all and we're good, that's when you start to fail," Abrams said.