CLACKAMAS, Ore. (KOIN) — A system set up to prevent school shootings in Oregon took center stage in Clackamas Tuesday afternoon when the sheriff and the head of the FBI in Oregon spoke about Safe Oregon.
Safe Oregon officials said the site was created to help identify and respond to school safety threats and more students and parents need to know about it.
Sheriff Craig Roberts explained why Safe Oregon is important.
“Part of this issue if you look at people that are involved in acts of violence, often times — not always — but at times they’re suffering from depression or other issues that could be a challenge,” Roberts said. “So many of these kids are suffering in silence and (we) created an avenue that they can reach out for help. People who also care about them at school can say, ‘Hey, here’s what’s going on in the school, I want to tell somebody about it.'”
Law enforcement officials say it’s vitally important that students, parents, teachers and the public report anything suspicious that could be considered a threat to school safety.
From September through November 2017, they received a total of 124 tips, but between December and February 2018, they got 381.
Within those numbers, there was an 11% increase in “threat to safety” while bullying and harassment dropped by 6%, officials said.
They also received tips about drug use and possession, threat of assault and suicide concerns.
When someone makes a tip, Roberts said it “gets triaged and sent out to the appropriate agency. The (Oregon) State Police does an amazing job. They actually oversee all of that and make sure that they have their own staff, also, talking a look at those tips to make sure there is follow-up and that the right people are contacted.”
Roberts said they’ve been working hard to get the 1230 schools across the state signed up. So far, a total of 910 individual schools are currently involved with Safe Oregon.
create what I like to call the ‘Safety Net of Professionals,’ from mental health to law enforcement to schools, where we come together to really address these issues,” the sheriff said. “These are not simple things to solve and I really believe if someone is trying to make that decision on their own, it’s a high-risk liability. The potential for things going bad is absolutely off the charts.”
Their goal, he said, is to create a multi-disciplinary team to reach youth who are struggling for one reason or another and “do early intervention. I can tell you that it has saved lives already, which I couldn’t be more pleased with.”
Though they didn’t get the money they requested, they’re still moving forward.
“We broke the state up into regions,” he said, believing their outreach will be more effective in a region-by-region effort.
“You’ll have a coordinator that will help pull together these assessments, help bring the right disciplines together,” Roberts told KOIN 6 News. “Really a multi-disciplinary approach to how we can better protect kids.”
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The line also receives tips for bullying, child abuse and self-harm or suicide. All tips, once submitted, go immediately to a tip line technician. The tips are then analyzed and forwarded to personnel who can further provide assistance in resolving reported incidents.