Police chief on department measures officers take to protect McGaugh Elementary

While the details of the Oxford High School shooting in Oxford, Michigan, are still unfolding, we are all deeply disturbed by the actions of that cowardly suspect. May the families and friends of all the victims find some solace in knowing that even in our small town of Seal Beach, California, we are wishing justice be served swiftly.

Please know how much it means to us that all Seal Beach residents have entrusted our police department with their child’s protection, whether in school or not. Undoubtedly, the safety and welfare of all children, faculty, and staff at McGaugh Elementary School remain our number one priority. With that, I take great pride in knowing that we have a phenomenal relationship with all members of McGaugh Elementary School. Further, the McGaugh Principal, Dr. Isaaic Gates, and I speak regularly, and it is both our persistent desire to continue improving campus security.

To prove this dedication, the following measures have been established over the past few years:

1) All individuals who are not a McGaugh student, not a Los Alamitos Unified School District employee, or not signed into the front office for volunteerism, will be escorted off campus by 7:55 AM.

2) All campus gates are then immediately locked thereafter.

3) Dozens of surveillance cameras were installed throughout school grounds.

a. Live feeds are directly monitored and/or accessed from both our dispatch and watch commander centers.

4) Video entrance monitor installed for the front office staff.

5) Emergency evacuations and lockdown drills performed monthly.

6) Two (2) Seal Beach Police Officers designated to the Community Oriented Policing (COP) Team, Kendra Owen and David Rael-Brook, provide direct campus engagement.

7) Active violent offender drills, involving all facets of public safety and school staff will continue to be practiced.

8) Continued monthly PTA meeting attendance by Seal Beach Police Department staff to provide critical and timely, safety updates.

9) Quarterly meetings with the Los Alamitos Unified School District Board, Superintendent, and key City of Seal Beach staff.

Items forthcoming:

1) Building and class numbers painted on rooftops for aerial support (December 2021).

2) Ongoing threat assessments to improve security and response measures by all public safety entities (December 2021).

3) Partnering with Dr. Gates and Seal Beach Police Department staff for a Town Hall/Community Safety Brief (January 2021).

With that, I ask all families in Seal Beach, whether their children attend McGaugh Elementary or another school, to assist us as partners in school safety by doing the following:

1) Discuss current events and do not hold back on the realities of the times we face.

2) Assist McGaugh Staff by making the campus as safe as possible by leaving before 7:55 AM.

3) Do not ever hesitate to call us on 911 for an emergency or call (562) 594-7232 for non-emergencies.