FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Marion Sheriff’s Department has joined forces with the county Office of Homeland Security to be able to purchase safety equipment that will be placed in the schools.

Plans of action have been developed that require specialty equipment to keep students safe in the event that an incident were to occur. Marion County Homeland Security has acquired ballistic plates and vests for officers, shields for each school, first aid kids, and accessing tools like ladders and breaching tools. Marion County Sherriff, Jim Riffle says that by the end of the year to get into every school to do safety assessments have all the necessary equipment in place.

“Through this collaboration, they’re providing additional tools that we desperately need in our schools, training in our facilities, and it also speaks, it’s a testament to the collaboration and the power of that in supporting our students and their families,” said Dr. Donna Hage, Superintendent of Marion County Schools.

Marion County Homeland Security officials stated that the county commission supported the effort and provided funding to be able to purchase the new essential equipment for the schools, officers, and first responders. They said that this is one step toward keeping the schools and officers safe.

“To have what is currently available is tremendous, in fact, most of this equipment is going to be used in training this upcoming weekend in kind of a real-time scenarios at a local school,” said Jim Riffle, Sheriff of Marion County.

Starting October 8th there will be a three-day active shooter drill involving every police department in Marion County at Fairmont Senior High School. On Monday, October 10th, there will be at the courthouse wrapping up the drill.

“We’ve watched some of the other shootings that happen across the country, and we’ve read all the reports. So, we are trying to make sure whatever mistakes were made in other places, that we don’t make the same ones here,” said Chris Mcintire, Director of Homeland Security Emergency Management in Marion County. “Whenever we find a gap in our security or our equipment, we’re trying to purchase equipment and do the training so we don’t have the same issues that they had in other parts of the country.”