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Grant awarded to study school violence

September 11, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Police responded to 94 calls at Charles Town Junior High School last year for bomb threats, assaults and other problems, according to Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge.

Aldridge is not saying the school off High Street is overridden with crime, but it's something he wants to look into.

The federal government announced this week that the police department will receive a $110,506 grant to study violence at schools.

Part of the money will be used to hire a research assistant to compile all the department's calls to schools, Aldridge said. The study probably will look at figures as far back as 10 years to determine if there have been any specific crime trends in schools, he said. If there is a problem, the next step will be to set up programs to deal with them, he said.

"First we will develop a database on the actual incidents and then break them down," said Aldridge.

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There are only two schools in the police department's coverage area - Charles Town Junior High and Wright Denny Intermediate School on Congress Street.

The most serious calls to Charles Town Junior High last year were for battery complaints, Aldridge said. There were no calls for guns or knives in the school, he said.

The grant will pay for the department's expenses to join a statewide database system for police departments.

The money awarded to the police department this week is a School-Based Partnerships grant given through the Community Oriented Policing Service, or COPS. COPS is a federal government program that pays for extra officers for departments across the country.

The local department received an extra officer through COPS, and has also received COPS More funding, which pays for overtime and equipment improvements, Aldridge said.

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