School security changes after Sandy Hook tragedy

STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)–For years, patrol officers in Stonington were encouraged to stop by schools around town randomly and walk through them. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, that kind of coverage has been increased even more.

On Thursday, a police cruiser was parked outside Stonington High School on the 5-year anniversary of the deadly shooting in Newtown.

Related: 5 years later: Remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings

Police tell News8 after that tragedy Stonington started to use reserve officers whose sole purpose is to drive from school to school and walk through them. They are on an alternating schedule so people never know when or where they will be.

“More conscious definitely definitely,” said Jane Belego of Gales Ferry.

When her children were first in school you could just walk right in. That has changed.

Related: Activism, charity sustain Sandy Hook families 5 years later

“You have to sign in,” said Belagio. “You have to show them your ID and they hold them in the cafeteria until you’ve done all that and they come out.”

This year no one can leave the school in Bozrah while buses are picking up students.

The new Sandy Hook school has many of the safety features found in schools now statewide.

There is bullet proof glass, along with electronic doors and door locks, cameras, both visible and not visible, and panic buttons throughout the building.

Related: 5 years after Sandy Hook, mental health care worries linger

Added security measures extend beyond Connecticut’s borders.

“It was about three or four years ago they did put a lock on the front door and you have to get buzzed in to the front door which is a good thing,” said Craig Lussier of Massachusetts.

All other doors remain locked. The state now requires safety-related reports each year showing school security and safety plans as well as lockdown and fire drill records. Some schools haven’t been completely complying.

“By and large they have,” said Governor Dannel Malloy. “I think that there are people who have missed deadlines for updates and that sort of thing. But once we get after them, they get those updated.”

Related: Schools violate safety rules enacted after Newtown massacre

Among his travels the governor spent part of this solemn anniversary in Newtown.

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