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Erie County District Attorney Flynn instates school critical incident initiative

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Tue, Apr 17th 2018 11:55 am
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced his office finalized the ECDA school critical incident initiative and will begin collaborating with school districts and law enforcement to improve investigative response to school threats.
Immediately following the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School, numerous threats were reported at school districts throughout Western New York. In an effort to streamline responses to these threats, Flynn contacted every public school superintendent in Erie County to ensure his office and local law enforcement respond quickly and thoroughly investigate these critical incidents.
The school critical incident initiative is a coordinated approach to establishing uniform protocol for schools, law enforcement and the Erie County district attorney's office when investigating critical incidents. A critical incident is any circumstance that presents a threat of harm to the students, staff or property of a school, or where harm has been done. These critical incidents include, but are not limited to: a verbal statement, social media post, bringing a weapon on a school campus or a completed act of harm.
This collaborative effort is designed to ensure a fast response and comprehensive investigation by assigning an assistant district attorney to act as a liaison for each school district in Erie County. Through this partnership, assistant district attorneys, designated school officials and law enforcement can develop investigative protocols in response to critical incidents such as securing physical evidence and preserving digital evidence, obtaining search warrants to inspect that evidence, and conducting interviews with witnesses and suspects.
Flynn announced the initiative at the 15th annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar hosted by University at Buffalo on March 20.
On Monday, Flynn met with assistant district attorneys to roll out the initiative. Each ADA was assigned to a public school district. The assistant will contact the school district to schedule a meeting with school and law enforcement officials to learn more about the current protocols and what measures can be taken to ensure a fast, comprehensive investigation into school threats. The ADA will continue to work directly with school officials and law enforcement in investigating critical incidents at their assigned school district.

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