A report on the Columbine shootings released in May by the Jefferson County, Colo., sheriff’s office underscored the need for school districts to share detailed information about their facilitiesfrom building plans to light switcheswith police.
Several relatives of the victims have expressed concern about the lack of information that officers in the suburban Denver community had about the school buildingand whether such lack of information might have hindered the officers’ ability to save lives.
“This is practical stuff,” said Dick Van der Laan, a spokesman for the Long Beach, Calif., school district. California recently passed a law requiring its schools to share detailed maps of their facilities with local law enforcement.
“It’s like an earthquake drill,” Van der Laan added. “It’s rare, but when they occur, you’d better know what to do.”
The Columbine report, which gives a minute-by-minute account of the April 20, 1999, attack, shows that all 13 victims were shot before police entered the building.
At 11:23 a.m., the first sheriff’s officers arrived at the scene, four minutes after the first two students had been killed. But officers didn’t enter the building until 12:06 p.m., minutes after the two shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, had shot and killed themselves.
The officers, who had been told there were bombs in the building, then began to comb the school for explosives. But the report shows it was more than two hours before they discovered wounded teacher Dave Sanders, who had been shot as he tried to direct students to safety. Sanders died later in the day.