By Jeff Gallatin
City and school officials are setting up a radio system that puts each school in direct contact with dispatchers at the Bay Village police station in the event of an emergency.
Officials expect to have the MARCS In-School Emergency Communication Radio system installed by the start of the next school year. The Bay Village Board of Education at its Feb. 24 meeting unanimously approved purchasing and installing one of the radios in each of the district schools, which will cost about $3,200. The district will split the cost with the city police department.
“A call coming in from that radio to the police station will be the equivalent of a 911 call to the police department,” District Superintendent Clint Keener said. “They’ll know that it’s an emergency situation.”
Keener said the district is taking appropriate measures for having the radio system installed and able to be used.
“We’re going to have a radio located in a secure location in each school, and we’re going to have different people at each school trained in how to use it to contact the police department,” he said. “It gives us an added ability to communicate directly with the police and provide security for our students, staff and people in our buildings.”
Detective Kevin Krolkosky, the Bay police officer who works with the school district, said the radios have become an unfortunate necessity in modern times.
“It’s something we hope we never have to use,” he said. “But it enables the school to have instantaneous contact via a direct link with our dispatch center, who will be communicating the information to patrol officers and the ones responding to any emergency at the school.”
Krolkosky said the system will function even if other communications methods are down.
“Even if other phone lines or cellphones are down, this radio will operate,” he said. “Testing and other emergency situations have shown that cellphones and towers can and do get jammed or overloaded from calls and don’t function in some of these type of situations. A text message might get through, but it might not be able to communicate enough information about the situation to be effective in a timely manner.”
Krolkosky said the radio is a valuable tool to go along with the emergency drills and training that the district and police have run together over the last year. With the second anniversary of the shootings at the Chardon School District having come last Thursday, there are that and other reminders of the need for safety measures for schools and police departments.
“Hudson had a situation a few days ago where communication between the schools and police departments was necessary,” Krolkosky said. “We hope never to have one of those situations in our city, but we want to be ready as we can be in case there is a problem. This radio system will help us if that’s the case.”