Law enforcement, school administrators and safety trainers from all over the state arrived in El Dorado Thursday morning for the Kansas School-Based Police Training.

Law enforcement, school administrators and safety trainers from all over the state arrived in El Dorado Thursday morning for the Kansas School-Based Police Training.

The training, held at the Civic Center, was the largest such training event El Dorado has held.

The day began with a presentation on gang awareness, presented by Deputies Seth Lenker and  Michael Wint with the Sedgwick County Sheriff Gang Unit.

They looked at the fact there are more gangs than ever before, including the fact street gangs are plaguing cities and towns across the United States.

They also talked about gang membership and migration, as well as the spread from urban areas to suburban and rural communities. This has led to increased crime, violence and drugs and a decrease in quality of life conditions in the communities.

They also gave a brief history of gangs in Kansas, gang identifiers, gang trends and gang influences.

Next was a presentation on the critical issues of methamphetamine, given by Loretta Wyrick Severin, assistant coordinator with the Kansas Methamphetamine Prevention Project and secretary of the Kansas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.

She talked about a variety of topics relating to meth and youth.

One topic was the clinical challenges of meth usage, as well as how to best pursue treatment.

She told the group meth triggers are a big thing, which makes people remember how good they felt when using meth and making them want to again. Such triggers can be as simple as walking down the cold medicine isle.

They also looked at things they can do in communities to address the problems, as well as steps that can be taken in schools. Officers and school officials were presented with materials available to them for this.

They went on to look at the effects of meth on infants, including the ways it impacts kids and drug endangered community programs that can protect kids.

Severin went on to talk about characteristics of a meth pregnancy, including no prenatal care, nutritional neglect and increased risk of pre-term births.

“We don’t know the full effects of meth on kids,” she said.

That is because the issue is just now beginning to get national attention and it is harder to gather information.

Meth babies can be irritable after a couple of weeks and this continues as they grow up, among other behavior problems.

They also looked at risks of children living in homes where meth is used.

After lunch, the group reconvened to hear from nationally-known speaker Jim Dawkins from New Mexico Tech. He is a certified evidence technician through the International Association of
Identification and is a certified bomb technician through the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School. He also is a graduate of the ATF’s Post Blast Investigations Class. He is currently on the FBI’s Kansas/Missouri Bomb Tech Working Group and the Kansas/Missiouri Metro Squad Investigations Team.

He gave a presentation on “Understanding and Planning for School Bomb Incidents Training Support Package,” which included information about deterring, preventing, preparing for and responding to a bombing incident at a school.

One of his topics was evaluating threats. He told the group bomb threats run in a series. He gave the example of using them to get out of a test.

He told the group if they evaluate what is credible and the history behind it, they may not have to evacuate every time.

He went on to look at categories of aggressive behavior.

“Schools have to plan to deal with these kids,” he said.

The first was early warning signs. The second was imminent warning signs, which requires immediate action. These signs include such things as fighting with peers, destroying property, threatening suicide and expressing detailed threats.

“Start thinking about what we’re seeing in schools; who the problem kids are; and how we can get them help,” Dawkins told the group.

He said they need to have a plan on how to intervene.

The third category was immediate intervention, adding that there are exceptions to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act in an emergency.

They went on to look at a scenario.

Following that they talked about the purpose and function of school emergency plans, phases of emergency management and categories of aggressive behavior, among other topics.

After completing Dawkins’s program, participants have the knowledge needed to develop or assess a school bomb incident response plan.

“When we saw he (Dawkins) was available and we could host it, we wanted to,” Spivey said.

They had to have at least 50 participants to host the event, but they drew 102 to the training.

Spivey said the training was important to help them know what to do in any given situation.