School Maps Project Comes to Fruition

Representatives from the Arkansas Tech University Department of Emergency Management, state and local law enforcement, state government and the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Initiative gathered at the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center on Tuesday, April 5, to celebrate the completion of a project designed to make area schools more safe.

Capt. Dale Saffold, commander for Arkansas Highway Patrol Troop J, accepted a collection of color-coded maps, overhead photos and associated materials that provide detailed information about K-12 school facilities in six counties — Conway, Johnson, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell.

The information will be provided to law enforcement agencies throughout the region as a resource in preparing for and responding to emergency situations.

The school maps project was led by Brian Kendall, a graduate student in the Arkansas Tech Department of Emergency Management, and Woodrow Ramey, a recent Dardanelle High School graduate who worked on the project through the EAST Initiative.

“This was a team effort,” said Saffold. “We are so fortunate in this part of the state. It doesn’t matter what uniform we wear or what patch we have on our sleeves. We all come together as a team, put away our egos and work for the greater good. When everyone has access to this information, it makes the response that much better. I want to thank Arkansas Tech for everything that it has done to make this happen.”

Among the officials on hand for the presentation were State Senator Greg Standridge of Russellville, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones, Johnson County Sheriff Larry Jones, Clarksville Police Department Chief Kevin Weathers and Lt. Kyle Drown of Arkansas Highway Patrol Troop J, whom Saffold commended as the person who “got the ball rolling” on the school maps project.

“Emergency management is more and more becoming an applied academic venture,” said Dr. Neal Barlow, dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, during Tuesday’s ceremony. “We love to provide our local agencies with people who have studied emergency management in depth. Our graduates bring skills that are innovative, and they have a great future because they have an opportunity to work with great people.”

Other Arkansas Tech representatives present on Tuesday included Joshua McMillian, chief of the Arkansas Tech Department of Public Safety; Dr. Sandy Smith, head of the Arkansas Tech Department of Emergency Management and associate professor of emergency management; and Wilson Short, visiting instructor of emergency management.

James Hopper represented EAST Initiative at the ceremony. He serves as project and development coordinator out of the organization’s Little Rock office.

For more information about the Arkansas Tech Department of Emergency Management, visit