MERIDIAN - In the wake of such a horrible tragedy, many people have a lot of questions. Some of those questions are, no doubt, what if something like that was to happen here?

Once the Meridian Police Department found out about the shooting it upped patrols at its schools, all to make sure kids here are safe.

When you have scenes like what happened Friday in Connecticut, it's difficult not to connect.

Our thoughts and prayers, our hearts and prayers go out to that community in Connecticut, said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea with the Meridian Police Department.

Basterrechea says since the tragic shooting at Columbine High School the way officers respond to these senseless crimes has changed.

The priority, if something like this were to happen is the first couple of officers that show up on scene are going in and they are going to try and eliminate the threat at something like this, said Basterrechea.

Just this past summer Meridian Police, along with several other law enforcement agencies, worked together to practice and train for situations like what played out in Connecticut.

Can everything be prevented? Absolutely not, Basterrechea said answering his own question. No matter what we do there are going to be people who want to harm children, who want to harm people in a variety of different settings, and those things are going to happen.

But he and others are not sitting idly by; they are taking proactive measures to make sure kids are safe. Meridian has officers in all the high schools and junior highs every day. For the elementary schools, they have one officer that oversees all of them. Today, they put officers at the elementaries just in case.

They're all in uniform, everyday. They're in uniform, they're in marked units, we want people to know we have a police presence in our schools to help avoid a tragedy like has occurred today, said Basterrechea.

In light of this tragedy, Basterrechea says they upped the patrols at all the schools - including the elementaries.

We have kids in these schools too. We take our training seriously, we take these types of incidences seriously and we're taking those precautionary steps to try to make sure all of our kids are kept safe, he said.

If the public wants to have dedicated officers at the elementary schools everyday as well, Basterrechea says that discussion can happen. People should go through the school district, as well as the city council.

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