A mountain lion has been sighted in Winchester. A resident reported seeing a mountain lion in the Dunster Lane, Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood off of Ridge Street. Massachusetts Environmental Police responded and viewed the animal’s paw print and stated the tracks strongly resembled that of a mountain lion. Photos of the tracks were sent to Mass […]
STARS – School Threat Assessment and Response Team
NEMLEC created and implemented the School Threat Assessment and Response System (STARS) in 1999 to assist the region’s over 500 schools in working towards enhancing school safety and preventing threats and violence in schools, and to ensure they were prepared to identify, assess, and respond to school threats and emergencies. This program is a partnership that coordinates the efforts of NEMLEC police chiefs and its affiliated public school superintendents and fire chiefs to coordinate their school violence prevention, reduction, intervention and response efforts.
Established in 1999, STARS works with member jurisdictions in enhancing school safety by:
- identifying threats and/or causes of violence in over 500 NEMLEC community schools,
- developing solutions and strategies to address causes of violence,
- developing, implementing, practicing and evaluating safe school plans, and
- responding to calls for assistance during crises and critical incidents.
STARS personnel assist in the development of safe school plans, identification and mitigation of high-risk situations and/or threats, and the implementation and practice of critical incident response procedures. STARS is also a fully operational unit that can be activated by request (in accordance with established protocol) for consultation, assistance with threat assessment, crisis response and management, and recovery. STARS teams are composed of highly trained personnel with specialized skills who provide crucial assistance and augment jurisdictional resources. It builds capabilities, and heightens the awareness of schools and communities around the importance of being diligent about school safety. STARS team leadership focuses efforts on addressing priority concerns that impact school safety.
STARS is directed and managed by a steering committee composed of member police chiefs, school superintendents, fire and mental health officials. It oversees the strategic planning, mission, and progress of the program, which is administered by a commanding officer, and an executive officer. STARS team members are organized into multi-disciplinary groups containing:
- A police officer with experience in schools (e.g. School Resource or DARE Officer) or other community involvement that enhances their ability to work in a school environment;
- A representative from the school department; experience in crisis management is preferred;
- A representative from the mental health community. Most often a school psychologist from a member community, this person responds to selective crises and/or provides direction on how to deal with an identified individual or situation via other communication methods.
- A representative of the fire department with experience in Incident Command.
The STARS team brings with it NEMLEC resources. It has access to experts in specialized topic areas, such as handwriting analysis, who work with the STARS team, and it manages NEMLEC equipment (e.g. portable and hand held metal detectors) that can be utilized in emergenices by member agencies. If needed, the Rapid Response and/or SWAT team, computer crime investigators, detectives, forensics experts, technology experts, canines, and incident command equipment can be deployed.Information from the NEMLEC website.