Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

The Ithaca Police Department headquarters on April 5, 2021.

May 26, 2022

Ithaca Police Department Increases Presence at Schools After Mass Shootings

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The Ithaca Police Department announced an increase in police presence at local schools on Wednesday in response to the Buffalo, New York and the Uvalde, Texas shootings.

On May 24, 19 children and two adults were killed and 17 others were wounded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, making it the second-deadliest school shooting in the United States.   

Ten days prior, a gunman killed ten people and injured three at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Authorities said the act was racially motivated as the perpetrator targeted a supermarket in a predominantly Black community, and the shooter was a self described “fascist, a White supremacist and an anti-semite,” according to a report by CNN

These shootings add to the list of more than 200 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 so far.

The IPD noted in their statement that while there is no knowledge of any specific threats, the victims in the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings were also unaware of any threats as well.

“Our intent is to help the students and faculty have an increased sense of safety and security,” said John Joly, acting chief of the police department.

In a Facebook post, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office also said they would be placing extra patrols outside of the County’s schools.

“Deputies will be providing extra patrols in the area of our County schools to hopefully alleviate any stress felt by our local students,” Tompkins County Sheriff Derek R. Osborne said.

Fourth Ward Alderperson George DeFendini ’22 tweeted a statement denouncing IPD’s decision to increase their police presence at schools.

“Police were present at the Texas shooting and it did not stop the tragedy, it never does,” DeFendini said.

Many Americans, including parents of the victims in Texas, are also questioning the police’s response to the shooting after authorities reported that the gunman was inside Robb Elementary School for over an hour and fired outside the building for 12 minutes before going inside.

The Ithaca Police Benevolent Association also issued a statement on Wednesday denouncing the shootings as acts of “terrorism, hate and racism,” and called for justice in these events.

“​​The members of the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association stand ready to protect Ithaca as we continue to work together with our community to provide the best public safety services possible,” wrote IPB President Thomas Condzella in the statement. “In the coming days you may see Ithaca Police Officers in schools, local businesses or other areas of the community where in the past there may not have been as much of a presence.”

Schools across the country, including many in Florida, California, Virginia, Georgia and Philadelphia, have also increased police presence at schools following the Texas shooting. 

The Austin Interdisciplinary School District in Texas said they would increase patrol and add supplemental coverage to their school campuses as well as increase security at their graduation ceremonies.

Across the nation, many families are questioning the safety of their schools and government officials are issuing statements reacting to the tragedies and calling for action.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (NY-D) said she would push to increase the minimum age for some firearm purchases from 18 to 21. Both of the shooters in Buffalo and Texas were 18 years old.

“When in god’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” said Pres. Joseph Biden (D) in an address to the nation on Tuesday evening following the Texas shooting.