Local schools respond to Aztec High School shooting

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Local schools respond to Aztec High School shooting

Schools hold drills and address concerns in wake of attack
Students from Aztec High School were moved from the school as police investigated the shooting on Dec. 7.
Law enforcement remains on the watch

By Stephanie Alderton
Journal Staff Writer
Montezuma County law enforcement agencies were also on alert after the Aztec High School shooting.
Both the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the Cortez Police Department provided extra security to schools on the day of the shooting, and police Lt. Andy Brock said patrolling near schools continues to be a high priority. Spokesmen for both agencies said they train officers and school staff about warning signs of a possible attack and how to respond to one.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin wouldn’t disclose his strategy for a shooting because he didn’t want to tip off a potential shooter. But he said his strategy for preventing one is simple.
“The only way to prevent it is to be there,” he said.
Dolores School District Re-4A has a full-time school resource officer from the Sheriff’s Office, and Nowlin said deputies try to patrol other schools in the county when possible. The Cortez district has two officers from the police department. Both agencies rely on the officers to tell them about suspicious activity in the schools, and Nowlin said he believes their presence has helped prevent potentially dangerous incidents. Brock said the city’s resource officers help the police department because they know students and their situations better than the average officer.
“They get 10 times the information we get,” he said.
Nowlin said he believes it’s also vital for schools and law enforcement to crack down on bullying. He encouraged parents, students and staff to communicate with law enforcement and with each other as openly as possible about any problem they face.

Local schools respond to Aztec High School shooting

Students from Aztec High School were moved from the school as police investigated the shooting on Dec. 7.
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