Reporting Alex DeMetrick
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) – The man who writes the checks signs a bill that would put a police officer in every Maryland public school.
Alex DeMetrick reports Comptroller Peter Franchot wants to see the kind of protection some children receive in all 1,400 schools.
Just this week, 15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. was sentenced in the shotgun attack at Perry Hall High.
“And I really didn’t have any one person that I was trying to kill. I turned to the side and fired a shot,” Gladden told officers in a police interview.
Special needs student Daniel Borowy was hit and severely injured. Fortunately, two school staff members subdued Gladden, and within seconds the school’s resource officer took control of the shooter and secured the scene.
“There’s no good reason why every single school in the state of Maryland should not have a trained, armed law enforcement security officer,” Franchot said.
So Comptroller Peter Franchot announced he’s backing legislation that would do just that.
“It’s probably going to be about $70 to $80 million is what it’s going to cost. We’re going to have to hire about 900 new police officers throughout the state,” said Del. John Cluster.
There are currently 500 schools with police on campus. All high schools and some middle schools have assigned officers, but no elementary schools. After the Sandy Hook massacre:
“We shouldn’t have to suffer like many families already have, when their child was carried out of school in a body bag or their son or daughter was identified in a county morgue,” said Michael Davenberg, Essex parent.
In schools with officers, the success stories are the ones you never hear, because nothing ever happened.
“Students would come up to him and say ‘Officer Wilks, I think so-and-so has something on him that he’s not supposed to have.’ Whether it be a knife, whether it be a weapon,” said Fred Evans, former principal.
The bill’s backers know it’s not a guarantee something terrible won’t happen, but say it’s better than doing nothing.
Franchot says the money needed to staff every school with a police officer should come from the state’s share of gambling profits.