Two men who have helped create and shape the future of The Center for Rural Development were honored at the 2011 Rural School Safety and Technology Conference held March 3 and 4 at The Center in Somerset.
U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05), who has championed homeland security and supported school safety in rural America, was presented the 2011 National School Safety Award. Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, was awarded a Presidential Citation for recognizing the need to bring the conference to rural America.
Both awards were presented by the School Safety Advocacy Council, the national organization that partnered with The Center and the National Law Enforcement Corrections and Technology Center (NLECTC) Small, Rural, Tribal and Border Regional Center (SRTB-RC)—a Public Safety program operated by The Center for Rural Development—to host the two-day conference.
Rogers was recognized Friday on the final day of the conference before more than 100 law-enforcement officers, school safety officers, and school administrators from 13 states.
“We are honoring Congressman Rogers for his hard work in school safety and in keeping our children safe, not only in his district, but across the state and nation,” Sean Burke, president of the School Safety Advocacy Council, said of the award.
Lawson, who received the Presidential Citation on the opening day of the conference, was instrumental in helping bring the conference to Kentucky and rural America, Burke said, adding Lawson had the foresight to recognize the need for bringing school districts and the law-enforcement community together under one roof to receive school safety training.
During the conference, representatives from the law-enforcement community and local schools came face-to-face with some of the nation’s leading experts in school safety issues to discuss some of the top relevant topics in today’s headlines, including cyber-bullying and Internet threats, developing and managing school safety initiatives, and finding federal funding support for school safety.
“We have been trying for the last 10 years to bring school administrators and law enforcement together to develop their own school safety protocols,” Curtis Lavarello, executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council, said. “The work The Center is doing at this conference is so important toward making that happen, because a great number of incidents that occur on school property is in rural schools, not in your major cities.”
Among the conference topics and speakers included: “Federal Support and Funding of School Safety,” Michael O’Shea of U.S. Department of Justice; “New and Emerging Threats to School Safety,” Curtis Lavarello, School Safety Advocacy Council; David Kamilieter, Scottsdale AZ Police Department; “Developing and Managing School Safety Initiatives,” Dr. Hector Garcia, director of Miami-Dade Criminal Justice Institute, and Don Alwes, lead instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association in Pennsylvania, who closed the conference with a presentation on school safety and active threats.
For more photos from the event, click below: