Sheriff Chris Brown organized a town hall meeting regarding school security issues in response to concerns due to recent school shooting incidents. The goal of this meeting was to gather information, get ideas and hear the concerns of the community. On March 16, members of law enforcement, city government, and school administration met to discuss these concerns and answer questions from members of the community. On the panel were Heber Springs Mayor, Jimmy Clark, SRO (School Resource Officer) Mark Wildman, Greers Ferry Mayor, John Carlton, Heber Springs police chief, Bobby Walker, from Concord school district, Amanda Britt, from West Side, Andy Chisum, Greers Ferry police chief, Teagus Majors, from Heber school District Alan Stauffacher, and DPA (Deputy Prosecuting Attorney), Drew Smith.
Brown began the meeting by showing a short video, “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event.” This video is used across the country and highlights the best actions to take during a shooting incident and can be found on youtube. Brown offered an 80-hour class to all school faculty called 'Active Shooter Response For Educators'. The class includes assembly and use of individual first aid kits, defensive tactics, use of force laws, and extensive firearms training.
The educators all state that their schools have been very proactive, have identified potential risks and have written plans in place although due to safety concerns they cannot divulge all the details. All agree that communication is the key, there is no foolproof plan. Concerns expressed by members of the community were lack of funding, bullying, lack of security, and recognizing at risk students and offering them support through counseling. Suggestions included fencing school properties, placing ex-military volunteers in schools to provide security and teachers acquiring enhanced concealed carry permits and arming themselves.
Stauffacher states "We are a very blessed community". He reports a good relationship with the Heber Springs PD, two school Resource officers, and says the district has been very preemptive concerning safety and security.