Gov. Butch Otter has appointed Col. Jerry Russell, who is retiring as Idaho State Police director this month, to assess and recommend possible safety and security improvements in Idahos public schools.
Russell will work with the states education department and local law enforcement and school leaders to analyze the state of security in Idaho schools in the wake of the Dec. 14 shootings of students and staff at Connecticuts Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Like everyone else, that heartbreaking tragedy made me think first and foremost about the safety of my own grandchildren and all the students in Idahos schools, Otter said Friday in a press release. Thats why Ive asked Idahos top cop to take on one more job for me.
Russell served 26 years with the Oregon State Police, rising from patrol officer to bureau commander before becoming chief security officer for Idahos Fourth Judicial District in 2001.
He became an exercise design specialist for the Idaho Military Division in 2003,and was deputy director for operations at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security from February 2004 until being appointed Idaho State Police director in January 2007.
Assessing and recommending security improvements at Idahos schools will require a thorough assessment of existing safe school laws and policies, as well as evaluating best practices and promising ideas being used at schools both within and outside Idaho, Otter said.
Its an extremely sensitive issue and an extremely important project, one that requires a great deal of attention to detail, Russell said. The first thing Ill do is take a hard look at whats out there and determine what needs to be done.