Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County police are rolling out new procedures after two separate cases where guns were brought inside school buildings.
Derek Valcourt has more on the efforts to improve school security.
County police are looking at providing increased security in the short term. In the long term, school officials say they are working on a comprehensive analysis of school security.
County police will spend more time on school campuses and in the halls as part of the county police chief’s response to the two recent gun-related incidents.
“Over the next several weeks and months, you’ll see an increased presence of police officers,” said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson.
Already, the police department has more than 60 school resource officers patrolling halls in all of the county’s high schools and almost all middle schools. There are six middle schools where an officer is not permanently assigned. They include Dumbarton Middle, Hereford Middle, Ridgely Middle, Cockeysville Middle and Sudbrook Magnet School. Though Sparrows Point Middle does not have a resource officer, the attached Sparrows Point High School has two who can respond to problems.
“We’re looking at every facet of our safety and security in the school system,” said Mychael Dickerson, Baltimore County.
School officials promise a thorough evaluation of security plans at all 174 schools and police are in the process of purchasing hand-held metal detecting wands for use only when needed.
“I think wands and metal detectors are a knee-jerk reaction but I think any reaction is better than no reaction,” said Melvin Kearney.
Security consultant Melvin Kearney says schools would need a lot of money to put metal detectors at every door. He believes a more proactive and cost-efficient approach would be educating students about dealing with conflicts and implementing conflict resolution programs in schools.
“That’s an educational-type program that could be implemented within school systems that is within something that they already are trained to do and that’s to educate,” Kearney said.
School officials can only say they are planning on completing their comprehensive security review.