LAPD, LAUSD reassure local parents of school security, safety


Officials want parents to know that there are many safeguards already in place, and more are on the way, both on and off campus. Some safeguards will be visible, some will be undercover.

The terror of Sandy Hook sent chill through many parents in Southern California.

"Our schools are safe," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "We'll make them safer."

Beck and the L.A. Unified School District have plans underway to add to school security and reduce access to weapons.

The city's annual gun buyback program, which usually happens in May, is being quickly organized for a repeat next week on the day after Christmas.

"The gun buyback program has taken nearly 8,000 guns off the street, including assault weapons, rifles and shotguns," said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Elementary schools will soon receive daily visits by LAPD officers, sometimes in plain clothes. The visits will be unannounced.

"This is a significant, significant task because as you well know, we have over 600 of these schools," said Beck.

LAPD is also extending the offer to private schools.

The measures come as LAUSD reports campus gun violence is down and that because of deterrents, fewer students have brought weapons to school.

To plan further safety, a team from LAUSD is in Connecticut to assess lessons learned in a very unusual case. Investigators say Adam Lanza did not fit the profile of an angry young man bent on revenge. He was smart but withdrawn and enjoyed video games. He also had access to weapons purchased legally by his mother.

Beck says the Sandy Hook school security was excellent, yet missing one element that parents have here: "They did not have a Los Angeles Police officer there, and had they, this would not have occurred," said Beck.

The LAUSD said that despite budget cuts, the school police budget has not been cut. It has in fact been increased.

If you or your child see or hear anything suspicious about weapons and schools, call the Los Angeles School District Police Weapons Hotline at (800) 954-HELP.

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