ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - The City of Orange Beach is wasting no time beefing up school security in the wake of last week's tragedy in Connecticut.
Council members approved $15,000 at Tuesday night's city council meeting for immediate improvements at Orange Beach Elementary.
The new reality
At Orange Beach Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon, kids were being kids.
Laughing, yelling, running around, enjoying their time on the playground, but there's a new reality; just steps away, a police officer watched over the children.
Orange Beach Mayor, Tony Kennon, said, "It's angering, it's frightening, but it is a reality and I'm a pragmatic person and we've got to do something. We cannot look back and say what if."
Kennon told us the city couldn't afford to wait. At Tuesday night's city council meeting $15,000 was approved to beef up security at Orange Beach Elementary.
"Unfortunately it's the new cost of doing business in the school systems," Kennon said. "And any school systems that does not take it seriously I feel is derelict in their duty."
A multi-layered security system
The officers will be reassigned through the end of the school year. Other immediate steps include adding cameras and equipping staff with panic button lanyards. The city has paid for the equipment and Brian Bodine with Coastal Security is installing it, free-of-charge.
"It's a multi-tiered system," Bodine said. "There's more than one communication that would be made to the police department and the fire department."
The new cameras and panic buttons at Orange Beach Elementary are set to be installed before students return from Christmas break.
The grandfather has a vested interest in the school's security.
"My kids went to school here," Bodine said. "My grandkid still goes to school here and I know a lot of the parents of the children in this school and we just want to be sure that they're safe."
The cameras will provide a live feed directly to officers and the panic buttons will ensure a quick response, but even more will be done down the road.
"Phase two is fortification of the building," Mayor Kennon told us. "Whether it be bullet-proof glass, steel doors, enclosing all walk ways to make sure no one can literally shoot their way into the building."
"We like to think down here in Orange beach that nothing like that could ever happen down here, but I'm sure they thought that in Newtown as well," Bodine said.
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