Monday, Crestview High School, Bob Sikes Elementary, Northwood Elementary, Davidson Middle School, Richbourg School and Emerald Coast Career Institute were on lockdown.
It was a standard procedure to protect students after a man was robbed at gunpoint outside his Crestview area home, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
That morning, Sports Editor Randy Dickson, unaware of the lockdown, approached the campus’ back gate to interview CHS athletic director and head football coach Tim Hatten.
The two would have talked about this Friday’s face-off with Milton High School. (See “Hatten era opens at Milton.") But that would have to wait; instead of Hatten, Randy met an Okaloosa Sheriff’s deputy who was very noticeably packing heat, on guard, at the campus.
The deputy politely directed him to a school resource officer at the front of the school. The SRO also was polite; in fact, he and Randy knew each other from football games — still, there was just no way that he would let Randy inside, he said.
When Randy returned to the office and related the story, I said, “You never know; the robber could be sporting a Randy Dickson costume.”
I didn’t really think that, of course, but let’s face it; across the country, stranger things have happened.
That’s just one reason why the SRO’s no-exceptions action impressed us.
Much has been said about whether school resource officers’ presence is needed on every Okaloosa County campus and whether money for such a cause could be better used. On today’s Opinion page (a print exclusive), you’ll see plenty of featured Facebook and crestviewbulletin.com comments praising or criticizing the schools for alerting parents, or not, about the lockdown.
But what the News Bulletin saw for itself on Monday, and what impressed us about the procedure, at least for that incident, was this: the students were safe. The system worked.