The special committee evaluating safety in county schools will begin by asking local law enforcement to perform a Threats, Vulnerabilities and Risks Assessment of each campus, beginning with the county’s two high schools. Committee member Rick Chandler, a school board member and Dickson police chief, said he would reach out to Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe to see if the leaders of the joint city-county Special Operations Response Team can perform the assessments. Director of Students Services Steve Sorrells, who chaired the committee at its first meeting Thursday, said surveys have been sent to all of the county’s principals asking for their input on safety procedures in their individual buildings. Sorrells said he would also work to make sure each school has a detailed and updated crisis plan that includes floor plans, evacuation and lockdown procedures, building access and other information that can be made available to emergency responders. During the hour-long meeting, Sorrells said “building design is probably going to be our biggest focus.” While preventing intruders and controlling access to the buildings is a primary goal, Sorrells said, “we don’t want out schools to look like prisons. We want to keep them open and accessible to a degree.” Committee member Jay Johnson, a former special operations Marine who now works internationally as a private security consultant, said the key to stopping an armed intruder in the school is to have properly trained and armed personnel in the building. He said select teachers, custodians, maintenance personnel and administrators should be armed either with guns or non-lethal options such as tasers or chemical agents. “The only way to mitigate and active shooter is from inside the school,” Johnson said, adding that during the time it takes law enforcement to get to the scene “kids are dying.” Chandler echoed support for arming school personnel. “We have to get the mindset that a gun in a school is not a bad thing if that teacher or administrator has gone through the training,” Chandler said. Johnson, the husband of Charlotte Elementary Principal Malissa Johnson, said the purpose of the Threats, Vulnerabilities and Risks Assessment is to go into each school “from the bad guy’s perspective” and evaluate what steps can be taken as a deterrent or in response to emergency situations. The committee scheduled its next meeting for Feb. 13 to begin evaluating the first assessments.