On Thursday, three Putnam County agencies informed the Putnam County Safe schools Committee they had combined money to recently purchase hand-held radios for each county school.
Putnam County Health Dept. representative Steve Walters told members at Thursday's meeting that his organization, along with the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. and the Putnam County Emergency Management Agency had purchased four hand-held radios for Cloverdale, Greencastle, North Putnam, and South Putnam, in order for the schools to contact emergency agencies with more ease.
The radios are to be used by school safety specialists at each school.
"We wanted to let you know they are on their way," Walters told the members Thursday. He said the radios had not arrived yet, but could within days.
The hand-held radios could have come in handy for the county school corporations on Sept. 1, when a bank robbery took place at First National Bank, 1140 Indianapolis Rd., Greencastle. Officials at Thursday's meeting agreed the school corporations would have gone into complete lock down if they had been notified of the robbery.
The suspect, described as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches to 6-2 in height, 200-250 pounds, walked into the bank, received an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene. Police reports stated the suspect ran northbound across Indianapolis Road to the Round Barn Manor parking lot, where he drove off in what was described as a late 1980's to early 90's model Jeep Cherokee red in color.
On Thursday, some corporation representatives admitted they did not know of the robbery while others found out about it much later in the day.
Others, on the other hand, were able to keep track of the situation due to police scanners.
Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie told the committee Thursday that he had asked Putnam County Dispatch to notify the county schools in the future if something like that happens again.
"I'm not pointing fingers," Frisbie said. "But we need to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"It was a protocol oversight. We've corrected the problem."
Despite not having the hand-held radios following the robbery and not being able to lock down following Friday's robbery.
"That gives us an opportunity to work something out at our school," Bain said.
Bain added the committee was still working toward a county-wide system for all agencies involved, and the addition of the radios will help.
"It's just a more efficient way of handling situations," Bain said.
"What a great tool that will be if there is a school crisis,"
According to Frisbie, the radios have 34 channels, but will work on two primary frequencies. He added the radios cost an estimated $1,500 each.
"In an emergency situation, that's what we need to be talking on," Frisbie said.
Frisbie said the radios will provide a communication link to law enforcement agencies and they will be locked on a mutual aid channel for communication.
He also asked all school officials on Thursday if they could update the school plans his department has.
"We need to tour every school again," Frisbie said.
All four county schools have been working on a collaboration amongst each other in order to take care of these kind of situations, with the hope of setting up the same policy within each county school.
Walters said when the radios come in, he planned to hand-deliver them himself.
"We felt that this is a need," he said.