The small community of Brimfield Township, just east of Akron, Ohio, is home to one of the most famous police departments in social media history, as evidenced by its 91,000-plus Facebook followers. About 7,000 are residents — an impressive total considering the township’s entire population is about 10,500.
David A. Oliver has served as Brimfield’s police chief for almost 10 years and as a member of the department for nearly 20. Since 2010, he and his officers have used Facebook to maintain a constant dialogue with residents and build a positive image of police in the community. Learn more about Chief Oliver and Brimfield at www.facebook.com/BrimfieldPolice
Police Chief receives Outpouring of Support for ALICE despite a few Misinformed Parents
This November 14, 2013 Facebook post by Police Chief Oliver received over 150 positive comments within 24 hours. His letter was in response to the local school canceling a parents night (to discuss ALICE) by the request of a parent. His letter reads:
As many of you know, the meeting, about the ALICE program, we had scheduled for last night was cancelled. That was not our doing and we are working to remedy the problem. The meeting was for parents and was going to cover the ALICE program, which is a response to active threats inside of the building. ALICE is an acronym and stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The program is used widely throughout the United States as a way to prepare and train teachers, students and police.
“The training we have designed for the schools is based on your child’s age and ability.” Chief Oliver, Brimfield PD
As part of the training the students and teachers receive, we had drills scheduled. The drills would have been different for each of our buildings, based on the age of the students. The high school drill is complex, complete with drama students assisting us, along with a starter pistol type devise used to fire blanks to create a distraction and lots of noise for the drill. That is where a couple of you came unglued. Most of it was lack of communication and rumors. There were not going to be any functioning weapons used in the drill. One parent called for me and talked about us “waving a gun around the school and firing blanks.” Yikes. The school eventually put the drill on “hold,” due to calls from a couple of parents.
We live in a different world today than we did when we were kids. We had to worry about far different things than I worry about today, while trying to keep 2,000+ students safe. One of those things is an active shooter in a school. There have been at least three in the United States this year so far. A tool we have available, which should always be used, is training. The training we have designed for the schools is based on your child’s age and ability. We would NEVER run around an elementary school firing blanks and shouting instructions. I have four children and would not want that for my own children. The very simple concept is this….we have to prepare for the worst, while we hope or pray for the best. In any task, we must prepare in order to be at our best. We are training the teachers and students to survive the worst.
We have been conducting fire and tornado drills for years. Some of us had to scurry under the desks to hide from nuclear fall-out during drills. Soon, the State of Ohio will make active threat drills mandatory; the Bill making it law is in the works now. As usual, we try to stay ahead of these things. We started “soft” active threat drills the year I became chief. I will do everything possible to keep these children safe. I know most and care for every single one of them.
Parents…we will be doing drills in the schools. These drills will be called drills and everyone will know they are nothing but drills. In the high school we will throw some curve balls to the students and staff. The elementary drills will be much more “fun” for the students. My officers will be present to conduct and supervise and we will educate students on what reactions they should take based on what problem they are encountering. We are not doing it to “scare” the kids. We are preparing them so they can return home to you every day, no matter what they face.
PLEASE email or call with questions. My office number is 330-673-7716. My email is [email protected] We will reschedule a parent’s meeting soon….Chief Oliver.
In response to Chief Oliver’s letter (above) being posted on the Brimfield Police Departments public Facebook account, Chief Oliver received a record amount of positive comments regarding his ALICE implementation efforts.
“Like Brimfield, supportive parents, teachers and residents far outweigh the minority who prefer their kids not be trained – we often find their objection was due to misinformation.” Chief Oliver, Brimfield PD
Similar to what Chief Oliver has experienced, the ALICE Training receives similar comments, emails, and phone calls on a daily basis. For us, it’s just business as usual.
We thought it may be helpful for any K-12 school districts who are contemplating ALICE to see how it’s normally embraced by parents, teachers and residents. Like Brimfield, supportive parents, teachers and residents far outweigh the minority who prefer their kids not be trained. Like Brimfield, there are always a select few who are against anything new and would rather use a lockdown-only approach developed during the cold war era. Although their voice is important, we often find that their objection was due to misinformation.
See the support for ALICE…
See for yourself how communities across the US respond to ALICE. We encourage you to take the time to read all the comments received by Brimfield Police. Yes, we are proud! We’ve also highlighted a few of our favorites. Odds are, your community would respond the same.