Law enforcement entities are working hand-in-hand to keep Mississippi youth protected from harm.
During a roundtable discussion on The Gallo Show, three different law enforcement leaders explained what the state is doing to ensure that schoolchildren are protected from dangers such as threats to schools, active shooter situations, drugs, and human trafficking.
According to Mississippi Office of Homeland Security Director Baxter Kruger, the state has made school safety a top priority in multiple facets. One of these is cracking down on threats — whether legitimate or ones that are pranks — that are made to educational facilities.
“It is a felony to make a threat of violence, certainly against a school. If you call in bomb threats or school shooting threats, our office is well-positioned to investigate those threats,” Kruger said. “On average, those threats have — from the time the threat was made to until we’ve made an arrest or identified a subject — is well within 24 hours.”
Earlier this year, Governor Tate Reeves signed the School Safety Guardian Act into law, which would allow teachers in participating school districts to carry firearms in the classroom after undergoing strenuous training at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy.
Kruger ensures parents that educators who participate in the program will receive proper instructions on how to handle a gun and cooperate with law enforcement to keep students safe in the event of an active shooter situation.
“What we’ve come up with is a pretty intense training regimen. Our recommendation is 140 hours — it’s a lot,” Kruger added. “When you introduce a firearm into any environment, you need to make sure that the person who is in control of it has the ability to control it and to maintain control of it, and that goes even into the interaction with law enforcement.”
Col. Steven Maxwell, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN), explained that his division of the Department of Public Safety is working to create a culture amongst Mississippi youth that encourages a drug-free environment. MBN’s “Demand Reduction Program” serves to educate students about the dangers of drugs in an effort to reduce overdose fatalities in the state.
Maxwell says MBN is also working with local law enforcement, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and nonprofit entities to keep children in the state protected from lethal drugs such as fentanyl.
“We are focused on reducing the harm that the drug culture has caused for Mississippi families. We want to decrease the number of drug-related overdose deaths. We want to prevent individuals from making the decision to use drugs,” Maxwell stated. “We want them to just say ‘no’ to drugs and death and ‘yes’ to life and success. That’s what we’re telling our elementary, middle, high school, and college-aged students across the state.”
Mississippi Department of Public Safety Deputy Commissioner of Operations Keith Davis joined Kruger in Maxwell in noting that there is an all-hands-on-deck approach from state agencies and businesses throughout Mississippi to protect children from human trafficking.
Watch the roundtable discussion below.