Lessons Learned from the San Bernardino Terrorist Attack

At Campus Safety Conference West, SBCUSD’s Chief of Police Joseph Paulino will discuss the steps his district’s Safe Schools Task Force took after the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist event.

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Dealing with incidents, crisis and emergency disasters on campus requires a new set of strategies and policies in this “new world,” where threats come in an array of different shapes and sizes. To help schools better manage these issues, San Bernardino City Unified School District’s (SBCUSD) Chief of Police Joseph Paulino will be presenting Making Hope Happen: Innovative Programs to Help Prepare and Deal with Incidents, Crisis and Emergency Disasters at Campus Safety Conference West, which will take place in Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 9-10. Additionally, Paulino will discuss SBCUSD’s experience during and after the December 2015 terrorist attack in the City of San Bernardino. 

Under his leadership, the district formed a Safe Schools Task Force in 2012 to improve school safety. In addition to parent and student members, the task force includes representatives from the San Bernardino Police Department, campus police from Cal State San Bernardino and other local colleges, representatives from the faith community, and service clubs.

In this Q&A, Paulino discusses his presentation, the need for a new approach to creating a safe environment on campus and the key takeaways he wants to extend to those who attend his session.

Campus Safety:  Why did you pick this topic?

Paulino:  We learned some new things from the terrorist attack/incident and have used that information to make decisions and create some “next steps” of our own. My goal is to share these insights with others in hopes that it helps them deal with any future incidences that may occur.

Campus Safety:  Why are these goals difficult for schools to attain?

Paulino:  I think you have a situation where you have this evaluation of whether this information is appropriate for that setting, and we know that [security] and the language in the school environment don’t mix. It puts us on edge every time we start talking about the probability of something horrific occurring on or near a school. We are very mindful of that so we do our best and make it appropriate in terms of the different levels of our students and our parents, the greater community. This is so they have some confidence in terms of what we are trying to do to make sure there is greater awareness in terms of these things that we know are no longer a domestic conversation, but an international conversation.

Campus Safety:
  Can you give an example of an “innovative program” you plan to discuss at the conference?

Paulino: If you look at our youth outreach, we have three levels of our explorer program. At the elementary level our program reaches out to youths and covers issues like bullying. At the middle school level, we escalate it to the junior explorer program, where again we touch on the soft skills in terms of being good citizens and being mindful of campus rules. Then we have our traditional explorer program, which covers steps that youths can take to be able to defend themselves effectively while also being mindful of the rules. Finally, our cadet program gives the opportunity to give back and to get paid for doing it. We have a relationship with our local police academy, which allows youths (over the age of 20) the ability to work in policing.

Campus Safety:  What do you want attendees to take away from your session?

  They need to be a lot more informed and empowered in terms of what I see as “out of the box” thinking, given the new dilemma (versus historically what we’ve been dealing with on campus).

The third annual Campus Safety Conferences are education and training events for anyone who has a stake in ensuring the public safety and security of our nation’s schools, universities, and colleges. Campus Safety Conference West will take place in Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 9-10, and will provide a full-day of workshops, a campus police chief and a K-12 safety panel, dozens of conference sessions, and more than 35 companies showcasing their products, services, and technologies.

To register for Campus Safety Conference West, visit CampusSafetyConference.com. Joseph Paulino will be speaking at CSC West, K-12 Track on Aug. 10.

Photo: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

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