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Baltimore County Police Authorize Use Of Metal Detectors In Schools

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—New security measures are now in place at Baltimore County schools after several incidents of weapons being brought to school, including a school shooting that left one student injured.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke with the police chief, who says preventive measures must be taken to protect students.

Baltimore County police have been looking into getting handheld metal detectors for school resource officers, and after Tuesday’s gun incident at a local school the decision was made to move forward with the plan.

Students will see school police officers carrying the handheld metal detectors, and it’s all in response to recent incidents of guns being brought on campuses across Baltimore County.

“I don’t think it’s a giant price to pay for our safety,” said Shantae Brown, student.

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson says the growing trend of students with guns is unnerving and being proactive is key in curbing any potential violence.

“We think this tool will enhance an already great system,” Johnson said.

It’s been two months since the Perry Hall High School shooting that sent one student to the hospital and another to jail charged with attempted murder.

And just Tuesday, a student at Owings Mills High School and another at Southern High School in Anne Arundel County were found with a BB gun and pellet gun, respectively.

“They had us with all the lights off on the floor,” recalled Owings Mills High School student Kayla Pickett.

And because the decision to scan a student or not would be left up to the school resource officers, some parents say it may backfire.

“I think choosing on a student-to-student basis because they look suspicious, there are some kids who look normal and have some really deep problems,” Ann Carney said.

And their kids agree.

“If they have purposed in their heart that’s what they want to do and they are angry enough I don’t think a metal detector is going to be a deterrent to them,” said Paige Carney, student.

Chief Johnson says the metal detectors can only do so much.

Student involvement is also key in prevention, which has proved vital the last few months.

“Students are helping us ensure safety as well,” Johnson said.

All 63 school resource officers in Baltimore will receive a handheld detector.

Baltimore County police have also hired a new school safety chief to help with the violence.

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