A Message Regarding Safety

From District & Village Leaders (August 11, 2022)

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August 11, 2022

Dear Winnetka Community Members,

Recently, Village, Police, Fire, and School District leadership met in order to discuss our collective commitment to the safety, security and well-being of our community members, particularly in light of the recent events in Highland Park. We have long shared an ongoing, committed partnership in which we regularly meet, reflect and plan together as leaders of our community. That commitment will continue to ensure that the safety of our community members remains our top priority.

As we look ahead to the start of the school year, we would like to share some of the significant measures we take to enhance the safety and security of our school facilities and grounds with the help of Winnetka’s Police and Fire Departments:

  • Performing annual safety/crisis District-wide plan reviews and simulation exercises with school staff, administrators, police and fire department first responders, and regional dispatch officials.

  • Conducting annual school-based reviews of safety/crisis plans with fire drills and law enforcement safety drills monitored by first responders.

  • Conducting annual building and life safety system inspections and testing.

  • Staying apprised of improvements in technology and best practices in school safety.

  • Supporting a regular police presence in and around our buildings to improve familiarity among staff and students, as well as serving to review safety protocols on an ongoing basis.

  • Gathering threat assessment teams composed of student services specialists, administrators, teachers, and law enforcement (as needed). These collaborative teams review emerging issues, revise protocols, identify potential threats, and provide early interventions and appropriate resources. They work with families on risk management, which includes ensuring an individual who has been identified as at risk has no access to firearms or other weapons.

These measures involving our village first responders are in addition to the many building-specific security measures and safety plans we have in place at every one of our school facilities and add a layer of protection as we continually prepare our staff and students to respond to an emergency.

Our partnerships as Village leaders evolve as the realities we are facing dictate. We feel that increasing our efforts on matters of safety and security, and keeping you informed on that progress, will best serve our community. We appreciate your support in keeping our community safe.


Chief Marc Hornstein

Winnetka Police

Chief John Ripka

Winnetka Fire Department

Dr. Kelly Tess

Superintendent, The Winnetka Public Schools

Dr. Paul Sally

Superintendent, New Trier High School

Rob Bahan

Village Manager, Village of Winnetka

Chris Rintz

President, Village of Winnetka

Emily Rose

School Board President, The Winnetka Public Schools