Security upgrades underway at all Robeson County public schools

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 11:18 PM EST
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LUMBERTON, N.C. (WMBF) - Security upgrades are underway for all 39 schools within the Public Schools of Robeson County, thanks to an over $1 million dollar state-funded grant.

“The General Assembly made available approximately at the very beginning around $44 million in funds for schools to apply for to enhance their school safety. We applied and received $1,048,000 through the grant,” said Bobby Locklear, assistant superintendent of Auxiliary Services.

The first order of business is creating a universal door access system for staff and law enforcement. Currently, in the event of an emergency, a police officer or first responder would have to wait for someone with a key to give them access.

With the new system, there will be essentially one “key” for all, so there wouldn’t be a delay in response.

“Right now we have two or three different systems that our schools are using. What we’re going to do is make all of them the same,” said Locklear.

The district will also install two-way radios in all school buses, so the drivers to have direct communication with district headquarters.

Currently, drivers have to use a cell phone to make contact, which can be tricky in rural areas of the county.

“There are a lot of dead zones in our rural areas, so the radios will help,” said Locklear.

Metal detection wands have been used on school campuses, and it is no secret that there have been incidents involving guns in Lumberton High School. The district has utilized random searches of classrooms and lockers to confiscate contraband. Now, they are also looking into new technology to help curb crime.

“The technology we currently looking at is something very similar to what Florence county has. It is not a traditional metal detector but you would walk through and it detects objects in your pocket that look like a weapon,” said Locklear.

The district hopes to change all of the entrance locks before the end of the year or early next year.

The grant must be used by the end of the school year or it will have to be returned to the state.

Law enforcement officers are still asking for the public’s help in their investigation after a woman was shot outside a Lumberton Junior High football game nearly a week ago.

So far, there have been no arrests made. Weapon detection devices are used at the entrances to the stadium or field, but not in the parking lot where the shooting occurred.

Anyone who was present during the game and may have witnessed anything that might be related to the shooting or has a video that may help investigators solve this case is asked to contact the Lumberton Police Department at (910) 671-3845 and/or the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at either (910) 671-3170 or sheriff@robesoncoso.org .