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WCPS might extend security training to teachers

Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said local police are involved in ongoing training in attempt to keep schools safe

January 17, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said Wednesday that it’s possible that teachers, in addition to school administrators, will soon be involved in security training for schools and that another school resource officer position might be created this year to increase security in schools.

Mullendore’s comments come as police and school officials have been reviewing school safety procedures recently following the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children, six adults and the shooter dead.

Washington County Superintendent of Schools Clayton Wilcox said during a Washington County Board of Education meeting Tuesday that he met recently with Mullendore and Acting Hagerstown Police Chief Mark Holtzman about security in schools.

Mullendore said local police are involved in ongoing training in attempt to keep schools safe.

Mullendore said when school administrators are involved in the training, the administrators would then train teachers, Mullendore said. Mullendore said he thinks teachers will eventually be trained by police.

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The county has seven school resource officers that gives a police presence at a number of school campuses around the county. One officer is at the Boonsboro schools complex, one is at the Smithsburg schools complex and one is stationed at the Williamsport schools complex, Mullendore said. One school resource officer is at North Hagerstown High School, one is at South Hagerstown High School, one is at Western Heights Middle School and one serves Washington County Technical High School and Antietam Academy, Mullendore said.

Mullendore said another school resource officer position might be created this year. If the position is created, it would be hammered out in the upcoming budget process for the next fiscal year, Mullendore said.

Mullendore said he, Holtzman and Wilcox met on Jan. 2 to review school security measures. Although the three officials talked about what can be done differently, Mullendore said he felt the county is “right on target” regarding school safety.

Holtzman said one change in his department that has already started is that officers are making more regular checks at all city schools.

“Our plan is to sustain that program as part of our regular duties,” said Holtzman, who added that private schools also will be checked.

Wilcox said he, Holtzman and Mullendore also talked about police response times to schools and Wilcox said he is “heartened” about the degree of safety at the facilities.

Board of Education members are scheduled to have a work session on Jan. 29 at 9 a.m. to further discuss school safety, Wilcox said.

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