(Canton, OH) – Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier is proud to announce a collaborative effort designed to offer new resources to prevent violence in our schools.
Sheriff Maier along with Stark County School Resource Officers Melissa Bogunovich, and Chad Smith, and Marlington Schools Superintendent Joe Knoll represented Stark County as they joined Attorney General Dave Yost and many others in Columbus on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 for the launch of the Ohio School Threat Assessment Training. The free training is now available to local school administrators, local law enforcement and others.
Stark County was recognized during the press conference as a leader in preventative efforts to achieve school safety. Since late 2018, Stark County has been implementing the Say Something Program which is an education and awareness program that provides tools and practices to recognize the signs & signals of a potential threat, teach and instill in participants how to take action, and drive awareness and reinforce the need to Say Something.
“We are not trying to put more people into the criminal justice system,” explained Sheriff Maier. “We are trying to keep people out of the criminal justice system, and to also give everyone in our schools the safe environment they deserve.”
The goal of a threat assessment is to identify persons of concern, assess their risk for engaging in violence or other harmful activities, and identify intervention strategies to manage that risk. Training is provided in a series of 10 video installments and a printed reference guide. Sheriff Maier is one of several local, state, and national experts called upon to offer education on best practice.
“We applaud the efforts of Sheriff Maier and his leadership of the Stark County School Safety and Security Task Force,” added Joe Chaddock, Superintendent of the Stark County Educational Service Center. “We are proud of this collaborative effort, which includes school officials, law enforcement, mental health experts, and many others in a common goal to ensure our youth have access to critical resources and that the safety and security of our schools is upheld.”
Grants are also being made available to help local schools build their own threat assessment teams. School resource officers or other law enforcement personnel with primary responsibilities that include safety may receive a $500 Ohio School Threat Assessment Training Grant when they complete the training and agree to help form or participate on a school-based threat assessment team. Law enforcement personnel must complete all 10 videos in addition to another video available only to law enforcement personnel focusing on identifying vulnerabilities in the physical school building and grounds.
“The Stark County Sheriff’s Office and Stark County Educational Service Center contributed their expertise to help my office develop these threat assessment training materials,” said Attorney General Dave Yost. “They are ahead of the curve in implementing these protocols yet continue to review others’ best-practices. That’s the strength of this program: sharing information to help prevent violence, rather than just reacting to stop it once it’s already happening.”
These Ohio materials are also under review to be offered as an included resource on the new Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website, SchoolSafety.gov, launched earlier this month.