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The City of Salida will be performing an assessment of its current policies and procedures related to school lockouts/lockdowns following the incident at Salida High School that occurred on September 23, 2021.  An independent third-party analysis of internal responses, including communication procedures, incident command structure, and standard response practices will be performed at the request of the Mayor and City Council.

“Anytime that something doesn’t go exactly the way that you might like, we need to look at ourselves first,” said Mayor P.T. Wood at the City Council’s Oct. 5 regular meeting. It starts with me and the council – did we provide the right resources? Are we providing the right training? Are we giving the right direction?  We need to reflect on ourselves before we start reflecting on anything else.”

Photo by Brooke Gilmore.

The City has engaged the Investigative Law Group (“ILG”) of Denver, Colorado, to assess the Salida Police Department’s coordinated response.  ILG, founded in 1995, provides sophisticated response solutions to complex workplace issues as well as swift and impartial reviews. ILG will first gather all relevant information, including dispatch calls, lockout/lockdown procedures, and recorded communications. ILG will then assist in evaluating whether actions were taken within the standard response protocols established between the City of Salida and Salida Public Schools, and if not, where and how actions may not have followed protocol.  It is anticipated that this assessment will take between three and five weeks to complete.

On October 5, Mayor Pro Tem Dan Shore explained, “I think there are lessons we can all learn. We just need to sit down, communicate, and think about how we move forward and how to rebuild trust, and just be so grateful once again that no one was hurt.” The City of Salida is committed to transparency about the response to the incident.

The City says they look forward to providing this neutral and independent assessment of the situation without interference in the review.  “Before being able to speak about relationships, we need to be sure that procedures were followed so that if there was a communication breakdown, we need to identify it and be held accountable for it,” said City Administrator Drew Nelson.

City leadership reaffirmed that the community’s safety is the city’s top priority and trust in the city organization is very important to them. The Mayor and City Council say they continue to appreciate the hard work that the city’s police officers and staff put in each day for the city. The city has also released a second report from the on-scene incident commander that details the actions taken and reasons why certain decisions were made by law enforcement on September 23.