STOW: Mayor Sara Drew met with the newly appointed safety task force at Stow City Hall Thursday to investigate ways to enhance security in Stow-Munroe Falls schools and other public areas of the city.
Joining Drew on the task force were: schools Superintendent Russ Jones, Stow High School Principal Chris DiMauro, Stow Police Chief Lou Dirker, Munroe Falls Police Chief Rick Meyer, Munroe Falls Mayor Frank Larson, Assistant Court Administrator Summit County Juvenile Court Steve Stahl, University of Akron professor Dave Licate, Stow Councilman Brian D’Antonio, Stow Law Director Brian Reali and Stow Finance Director John Baranek.
Jones was not present at the meeting.
"I feel very strongly that this is a local issue that takes a local solution," Drew said.
According to Drew, the need to form the task force stemmed from the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., where 20 students and six teachers were fatally shot last month.
“It was not very different from Stow, and very similar in size,” Drew said.
As of the 2010 census, the population of Newtown was 27,560 to Stow’s 34,837.
"As a mother of a daughter at Kimpton Middle School, I also have a stake in this," Drew said.
Drew asked the community and school leaders to collaborate together and research four key issues: cooperation and collaboration between the two police departments, assessment tools and training needs for teachers, survey of the community's interests and needs for enhancing security and financial issues.
The meeting was open to the public.
Clinton resident Don Michael suggested to the task force that they consider using a double pass system as an added security feature in the schools.
"I don't think that they will ever pass a law to get rid of the glocks or the clips," Michael said. "The biggest problem that you face is keeping them out of the school."
The double pass system would tighten entry into schools by making a more secure entrance procedure for all individuals entering the school and could also potentially screen for weapons.
Larson said this is a complex problem.
Drew said Thursday's meeting was very productive and that she is confident the task force will meet their March 31 deadline.
"This clearly is an issue that people are concerned about," Drew said. "It resonates with people."