Security updates in the works at Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex

Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex in Savannah.
Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex in Savannah.(WTOC)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 7:56 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Five weeks after a deadly shooting at the Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex in Savannah, some security changes at the park are already noticeable and more updates are on the way.

“No weapons allowed” signs have been put up since the shooting occurred and while the lighting is not updated yet, contractors have already been there to look at adding lights to the parking lot and other walkways in the park, and some security camera updates are in the works.

There are also new guidelines in place for police. Chatham County Police have been given a schedule and there are additional officers at each game and practice. It’s not just officers sitting in their cars but walking around and engaging with the players, parents and other spectators.

New rules in the wake of the shooting require, one officer per playing area, which means two officers for the Jennifer Ross Complex. And anytime the fields are rented out there does need to be a security officer on scene.

Coach C, a football coach, says these changes are necessary for not only keeping the kids safe, but allowing them to continue to play out on the field.

“We want to let them know that we are not just out here for sports, we use sports as a vehicle to get the children in. Once we get them in, they open up to us coaches and they tell us a lot of things, so, we want to use that vehicle to get those kids to come in and we will be able to help them with some of the problems they are having because sometimes they open up to us. Even my own son will open up to his coach before me, so, that gives us the opportunity to do that as well,” said Ammon Crawford “Coach C,” said Southwest Georgetown Youth Organization Inc. Founder.

The parks and recreation staff will also be starting de-escalation training soon. They hope to get that underway right after the Thanksgiving holiday.

All staff at the parks will now be wearing high viz vests so people can easily find help in an emergency.

Since this park is so large, the county is working to get golf carts and ATV’s for police to use to get from one side to the other quicker.

While the Jennifer Ross Complex has been the focus, these changes will be implemented at parks all across the county.

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