Jackson Middle School P.R.O. receives honor for lockdown effort
VIENNA — The prevention resource officer at Jackson Middle School was recognized Thursday for his actions earlier this year when a potential threat prompted a lockdown on the last day of school.
“Last day of school, kids everywhere,” Vienna Police Department Officer Adam Jones said, recalling the events of June 7, when a tip from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led authorities to believe there was a credible threat of an intended shooting at Jackson.
There were 480 students around the school grounds off 34th Street, participating in Jackson’s annual student Olympics on the last day of classes.
“We had all students inside (in) under four minutes, and everybody was accounted for in under six minutes,” Jones said.
The crisis plan developed by local law enforcement and Wood County Schools was put to the test, and everyone passed with flying colors, Jones said.
“This is not just a one-person job,” he said. “I can’t be more happy that it (went) the way it transpired.”
The potential threat was traced to a 16-year-old Belpre resident, and subsequent investigation by both the Vienna and Belpre Police found there were no weapons in the juvenile’s house and the original threat involved beating someone up, not a gun. The boy was not charged, Vienna Police Chief Mike Pifer said.
But before that information was known, Jones and local authorities had to take the threat seriously.
“We deemed the threat credible until we could discredit it,” he said.
Jones was honored Thursday in front of the school, with city, county and school district officials present, along with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
“Students witnessed unparalleled leadership, compassion … and bravery by Officer Jones,” Manchin said. “You showed the nation the true value of prevention resource officers, a leader and a guardian.”
Pifer said he’s grateful to have Jones in that position, noting he’s “entrenched in the community,” coaching football and attending all school functions.
Vienna City Councilman Jim Leach, attending on behalf of Mayor Randy Rapp, presented Jones with the “Adam-12 5 Gold Star Award” in reference to Jones’ first name, the 12 minutes between officials being alerted of the potential threat and the lockdown being initiated and the classic television show. He said it was “in honor of your valiant service to the faculty and students of Jackson Middle School.”
In addition to praising the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, the 911 Center, West Virginia State Police and school personnel, Jones wanted to highlight his fellow P.R.O. officers around the state.
“Student safety is important to not only Vienna but Wood County and all throughout the state,” he said. “I want to accept this award on behalf of all of them for what we do every day.”