Amid the heartbreak and horror of yet another mass school shooting, the City of Dothan is undergoing a self-assessment to determine what more can be done to protect our students. This morning, Dothan’s new City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Phyllis Edwards, met with Mayor Mark Saliba, Police Chief Steve Parrish, and School Board Chairman Mike Schmitz. Dr. Edwards has stated that the process of staying in contact to regularly review and update school safety procedures began before her starting her current role, and it will continue to be of utmost importance going forward.
In an open letter written on February 24th, Chief Parrish reminded Dothan Police candidates of the compassion, “guts”, and vicious resolve needed to defend students in the presence of an imminent threat. “Although our police force stands ready and waiting at all times to protect our students and citizens from danger, today’s meeting was about having effective plans and strategies in place in order to prevent the likelihood of such events occurring,” said Parrish.
During the meeting, Parrish stated that his department will be undertaking a threat assessment of all City Schools. The Police Department will use those results to develop a more modernized plan that further enables officers to anticipate, identify, and respond to potential threats.
At the recently completed Strategic Planning Session, the Dothan City Commission listed school security as a top management priority. “We have always had a great relationship with our City School System,” said Mayor Saliba. “Partnering together, we are going to proactively face this challenge so we aren’t reactively meeting after an incident to discuss what we could have done better.”