Keeping safe in troubled times requires a plan, Lake County authorities say

 
 
Updated 4/17/2018 5:40 PM
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  • Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran on Tuesday discusses community safety in a troubled time at a special program in Libertyville hosted by the Women's Network Group of the GLMV Chamber of Commerce.

      Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran on Tuesday discusses community safety in a troubled time at a special program in Libertyville hosted by the Women's Network Group of the GLMV Chamber of Commerce. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

"We are living in very dangerous times, there's no question about it," Curran said Tuesday during a presentation hosted by the Womens Network Group of the GLMV Chamber of Commerce.

"There will be another school shooting and it won't be far down the road. It's inevitable," he added.

Curran, with sheriff's Lt. Andrea Ursy and Chief of Community Services Jon Petrillo were the featured guests for the special lunch program "Keeping Our Communities Safe" at Austin's Saloon & Eatery in Libertyville.

"Having a multi-hazard plan is the foundation of being safe," said Ursy, a 23-year law enforcement veteran.

She said procedures have changed since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, when officers waited for back up as shots were fired inside.

"We have been trained to go in on our own," Ursy said. The 16-member Community Safety Team offers guidance to schools, businesses and houses of worship to develop emergency operation plans, she added.

Petrillo joined the sheriff's office a year ago after serving 25 years in Vernon Hills and retiring as deputy chief. He said community safety is a core function of the sheriff's office.

"Who would have thought in our lifetimes places of worship would have been targeted? But it's happening," he said.

Petrillo said the sheriff's office next week will be accredited by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and this summer is expecting a national designation. That carries mandates for training and equipment, among other things, he added.

All cited mental illness as a factor in the majority of school shootings and urged parents to seek treatment for their children if they see signs.

In response to a question, Curran said he didn't advocate arming teachers.

"I'd like to see more common sense gun legislation," he said.

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