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Proposal would expand school police program

School system would pay 70 percent of cost

School system would pay 70 percent of cost

June 15, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County Public Schools has proposed expanding a program that would assign three Hagerstown police officers to patrol North and South Hagerstown high schools and Antietam Academy West.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said one officer would be posted at each school. North and South high schools currently have officers. The one at Antietam Academy West would be new.

"The program benefits us in so many ways," Smith said. "It gives us a wealth of good will with the students."

Smith said the school system has agreed to pay about 70 percent of the program's annual cost, or $37,565 for each officer. The city would pay the remaining cost, he said.

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Michael Markoe, assistant superintendent of Washington County Public Schools, said the officers would support the overall safety of the schools.

The officers positions started four years with help from a U.S. Department of Justice grant, Markoe said.

Funding from the grant runs out at South High on July 1, Smith said. The position at North High will expire a year later.

Smith said the school system's willingness to provide most of the funding to maintain the positions at North and South and create a new one at Antietam Academy West for the 2007-08 school year will help ensure student safety.

"We do appreciate the school board stepping up," Smith said.

When school is out of session on holidays and during the summer, the officers would be assigned to the downtown squad, Smith said.

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