Keeping Kids Safe 2018On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, nearly 300 participants comprised of school teams of administrators, educators, counselors, psychologists, nurses, first responders, law enforcement officials, and mental health and community partners gathered to show their commitment to keeping the 70,000 students in Berks County safe.

The Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU), along with event partners: the Berks County Mental Health / Developmental Disabilities (MH/DD) Program; the Berks County District Attorney’s Office; the Berks County Chiefs of Police Association; and the Berks County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #71, hosted the 10th Annual Keeping Kids Safe Symposium: Active Shooter Response Survival Guidelines and Practical Applications at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading.

Keynote speaker Lieutenant Jack Cambria, NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team Leader, Retired, provided training that addressed the following topics: active shooter policy and protocols, suggested prevention policy, security systems, practice training, expectations, and hostage survival strategies. Filled with videos, statistics, research, and real-hand experiences, the training proved to be relevant and beneficial to all attendees.

Guest speaker John Baker, CPP, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit’s Safety and Security Manager, presented the Practical Applications portion of the seminar which reinforced Lt. Cambria’s message and made the topic relatable to school district administrators and educators. Mr. Baker also stressed the importance of a good relationship between each school district and their local law enforcement officials.

Emergency preparedness and training is a timely topic among state leaders, educators, and community members. This training highlighted the county’s commitment to ensuring that safety and security remains a top priority.