Messages of love, support and prayer have poured into the small town of Uvalde, Texas, after the horrific mass shooting in an elementary school there.

On Thursday, May 26, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department joined in with that chorus of voices by releasing a statement on the shooting. The department also advised Guilford County residents that it is stepping up patrols of the elementary schools in the county to help reduce the chance of something similar happening here.

“The men and women of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office have been affected by the horrific tragedy that occurred in Uvalde, Texas,” the statement reads. “We are all impacted by this senseless act of violence. It is our duty to attempt to stop violence in our schools.”

The Thursday press release goes on to say, “We will evaluate all possible means of making our schools safer and preventing future tragedies.”

Over the last decade, Guilford County government and Guilford County Schools have worked together to find ways to make all of the schools in the county more secure.  Though some strategies have been implemented, there have been a lot of security upgrades that have been discussed many times but never put into effect.  Some of those steps could be taken thanks to new money from the $1.7 billion school bond referendum that county voters just passed.

In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Department has begun watching the elementary schools closely.

“Although we do not currently staff elementary schools with School Resource Officers,” the Sheriff’s Department’s release reads, “our Commanders over dayshift personnel have been instructed to have their officers frequently check in with the elementary schools in their respective areas. These visits are designed to help our officers familiarize themselves with the layout of each school, provide a visible deterrence, and enhance the safety of all our elementary school students and staff.”