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Dr. Brown and IPD Chief Tyler Talk School Safety

Dr. Brown and Chief Tyler

The Ithaca City School District is committed to collaborating with the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) and other local law enforcement agencies on issues regarding school safety.

This week, ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown and Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler met to discuss current and future safety precautions in the wake of recent acts of violence in schools.

“The largest factor of the whole thing is the buy-in, from top to bottom,” Tyler said. “The Superintendent is committed to not only keeping everybody safe, but looking at new ways to creatively address evolving problems as it relates to school violence. We at the Ithaca Police Department are committed to working with the school system to ensure protection and safety.”

As a precaution, the IPD has recently increased its presence in and around the schools. “Not to alarm anybody, but the reality is that this is a large school campus and we want the students and faculty to feel secure and safe as much as they can,” Tyler said.

The district has a detailed safety plan (available online at and a district-wide safety team that includes key ICSD administrators, ICSD Board of Education members, first responders, and emergency services personnel, including Chief Tyler.

The district is required by New York state regulations to conduct eight evacuation drills and four lockdown drills per year, and all ICSD schools are in compliance with the district’s safety plans and protocols, Dr. Brown noted.

Other plans are in the works to improve safety at ICSD schools. The district’s SMART Schools allocation from New York State, awarded after state voters approved an act in November 2014 to finance enhanced educational technology and infrastructure, will be used to install door access control systems and security cameras beginning this May.

Dr. Brown plans to restart conversations with the IPD and the ICSD Board of Education about the implementation of School Resource Officers (SROs), who would not just serve as a law enforcement presence on campus, but would work to build relationships and trust between students and local police.

“The majority of the school shootings that have happened, whether at the collegiate level or the high school level or the elementary school level, very shortly after meeting armed resistance, they stop,” Tyler said. “If you have a School Resource Officer that’s providing intervention within the first minute, and the shooting stops, that equates to saving lives.”

School staff and police officers have, and will continue to collaborate on joint lockdown drills.  During these drills, IPD officers walk through and offer suggestions for optimal safety. 

Drills that would specifically simulate an active shooter situation are also a possibility. Dr. Brown acknowledged that some community members believe those sorts of drills are traumatic and inappropriate, but he and Chief Tyler think they can instill the confidence needed to deal with a real situation should it arise.

“I think that kids are facing more trauma and fear based on the unknown and based on very real incidents that are happening on a regular basis in school communities, and I think that the misconception that drills cause fear – I think they cause confidence,” Tyler said. “You’re making your police officers more comfortable, your faculty more comfortable, and your students have a better understanding of what their roles and responsibilities are in crisis, so when it actually does happen, they’re not drawing on a blank space in their brains. They’re drawing on experience from the drills that they’ve been through.”

Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101