The first step for any new project is organization, and that's what Mayor Sara Drew hopes to accomplish at Thursday's meeting of the school safety task force. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the boards and commissions room at City Hall.
Drew has appointed nine area officials to the task force and has asked them to find permanent and sustainable solutions to the issue of enhanced security in Stow-Munroe Falls Public Schools and other public institutions in the city. This is in response to the shooting in Newtown, CT, and from several residents asking what Stow's plan of action is.
"There have been several questions about the levels of security knowledge on the task force," Drew said. "We have the two police chiefs and we also have Dave Licate who is a member of Stow's Public Safety Services and a criminal justice professor at the University of Akron."
Licate is also trained in Homeland Security and was on the university's task force after the shooting at Virginia Tech, Drew said.
Another member is Stow Law Director Brian Reali, who is also trained in military security and has been deployed several times.
"There are definite reasons I put these people on the task force," Drew said. "They have a wide variety of backgrounds and a considerate amount of security training."
The task force has until the end of March to come up with short- and long-term solutions to safety in the school district and public institutions. Those plans will be presented to council.
"I have ideas about what we could do but the reason we have a task force is so this can be about collaboration," Drew said. "It has to be everyone coming to a consensus about why this solution makes sense."
Drew and the task force will gather public comment at these meetings as well and she believes the solutions the task force generates will be palatable to the community.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting.
Other members of the task force include:
Stow Mayor Sara Drew
Russ Jones, Superintendent, Stow-Munroe Falls City School District
Chris DiMauro, Principal, Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools
Lou Dirker, Chief of Police, City of Stow
Dave Licate, Professor, University of Akron
Brian D'Antonio, At-Large member, Stow City Council
Rick Meyer, Chief of Police, City of Munroe Falls
Frank Larson, Mayor, City of Munroe Falls
Brian Reali, Law Director, City of Stow
John Baranek, Finance Director, City of Stow