ISP director to assess safety of Idaho schools

BOISE - Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is enlisting the help of Idaho's top cop to analyze the state of security in the Gem State's public schools.

Retiring Idaho State Police Director Col. Jerry Russell has agreed to work with the Idaho Department of Education, local law enforcement and school leaders to assess and recommend possible safety and security improvements in schools.

Russell served 26 years with the Oregon State Police, rising from patrol officer to bureau commander before becoming chief security officer for Idaho's 4th Judicial District in 2001. He became an exercise design specialist for the Idaho Military Division in 2003, and was deputy director for operations at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security from February 2004 until being appointed Idaho State Police director in January 2007.

The move comes in the wake of the Dec. 14 mass shooting in Connecticut.

"Like everyone else, that heartbreaking tragedy made me think first and foremost about the safety of my own grandchildren and all the students in Idaho's schools," said Otter.

The group will take a look at existing safe school laws and policies, as well as evaluating best practices and promising ideas being used at schools both within and outside Idaho.

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