Antioch Police Chief, Superintendent address school board on school safety, gun incident at Antioch High

Screenshot of YouTube video of Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks speaking to the Antioch School Board on Wed., Feb. 25, 2020.

By Allen Payton

During her Superintendent’s report at the Antioch School Board meeting, Wednesday night, Feb. 25, 2020 Stephanie Anello said, “I wanted to update the board, while we develop a more comprehensive plan for addressing safety, that includes students, staff and the community, I want to take a moment to share some interim measures that we’re taking in light of the recent events that threatened the safety of students and staff at both Deer Valley and Antioch High Schools.”

“For the foreseeable future two extra site safety personnel will be on each campus, along with two extra administrators,” she stated. “Yesterday, we walked the Deer Valley campus to determine if additional cameras are needed to address safety concerns. As you’ll recall Antioch High’s cameras were updated with Measure B funds, recently.”

“We’ve also increased the lighting on campuses and are working to install gates to the main entrance of the Deer Valley parking lot,” Anello continued. “I’ve also been in contact with Chief Brooks from Antioch Police Department, and he is working to see if there can be increased presence on campus of the Antioch Police Department.”

She mentioned the Say Something app for the phones of students and staff, and everyone in the community can anonymously report incidents to school personnel and law enforcement. It will go live next month.

“As mentioned previously, the police chief and I are working on a grant to add school resource officers to our schools, as well as police presence at particular sporting events,” Anello shared. “We are going to do a perimeter assessment to determine if upgrades are needed and to secure our premises and are working to develop a parent community volunteer corps, so they can also help us.”

“Finally, each school is going to be addressing school safety at all of their ELAC meetings, their school site council meetings, and their PTSA meetings, so the parents have an opportunity to provide input and they’ll also be meeting with the leadership teachers at both sites, as well as students.”

Chief Addresses Incident of Gun on Antioch High Campus

“I don’t think a lot of people understand that during an active criminal investigation how communication works amongst the school district and the police department,” Anello said. So, she invited Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks to speak on the matter of the gun on the Antioch High campus, last Wednesday.

“I had received information that there were some people who thought that it was misinformation that was given by the school in regards to the incident, and I’m talking about an incident that occurred at the Antioch High School actually a week ago, today,” he said. “The question had to with the information that was provided by the school administrator, Principal Rocha that there was a weapon involved, and some people questioned why the school district was not more specific regarding the fact that it was a gun.”

“What I wanted to explain, what a lot of people are unaware of is that during the course of the incident and then the subsequent investigation it wasn’t known for a fact whether or not it actually was a gun,” Brooks explained. “So, for Principal Rocha to put out timely information that day, it would actually be irresponsible of him to say if it was or it wasn’t. He was general in that it was a weapon, because really that’s what we could confirm. But there was no confirmation as to whether or not it was a real firearm.”

“So, in an effort to get that information out timely, he actually had been in contact with our staff. The information was actually part of a collaboration,” Brooks continued. “He wanted to verify what in fact he could say and whether or not we could confirm at that time it was a real firearm or not. So, the information he drafted that day, the day of the incident was accurate.”

“Obviously, with any criminal investigation information changes as we conduct our investigation,” he stated. “So, we have to be very careful in what information we present to make sure that it’s as factually accurate as possible at the time we provide it.”

“So, I wanted to share that information with the board…that the information that Principal Rocha put out that day had actually been vetted through the police department and was accurate based on the information that he knew at the time of the posting,” Brooks concluded.

“Thank you for coming this evening and for all your help and support,” said Board President Diane Gibson-Gray.

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