ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) -- The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school earlier this month in Newtown, Conn. has school safety at the top of the priority list in St. Charles County.
According to officials, 14 people will be on a new task force aiming to address security at public and private schools in the area.
Members of the task force will be from schools and law enforcement agencies all over the county. They’ll work with county council members and mental health experts to identify weak spots in school security.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann says the task force is about learning from experts and sharing ideas.
The mental health aspect will be a big focus, as educators and law enforcement officials acknowledge a decrease in funding and support for mental health issues over the last several years.
“People have to make decide about what’s important, what isn’t, and we are constantly doing that, deciding how much to spend on parks, how much to spend on security,” said Ehlmann. “I think we’re at a point right now, people realize if there’s more money, if more money could be spent on security and it would make a difference e, than that’s a good idea.”
Members of the tast force include those members include Fort Zumwalt and St. Charles school superintendents Bernard DuBray and Jeff Marion; Duchesne High School President Bernard Naumann; Immanuel Lutheran Principal Rebecca Schmidt;Councilmen Terry Hollander, R-District 5, and Joe Brazil, R-District 2; St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer; St. Peters Police Chief Tom Bishop; Wentzville Police Chief Lisa Harrison; Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider; John Oldani, Lindenwood University vice president for student development; Laura Heebner, Crider Health Center president and chief executive officer; Barbara Griffith, president and CEO of Community Living Inc.; and Kenneth Simmons, St. Charles County chief juvenile officer.
The task force will hold meetings on Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 at the County Administration building.The public is encouraged to attend.