BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Students in Carroll County will see members of the sheriff’s department at school in an effort to help keep them safe.
The sheriff’s office says they cannot be in every school for financial reasons, but deputies will be in various schools through the county — something officials have been pushing for for months.
The shooting in Parkland, Florida, changed the country forever. Parents nationwide have been left wondering how safe their children are behind school doors.
“My greatest fear, I can’t do this, I’m sorry. My greatest fear is losing my daughter,” one father of a Great Mills student told WJZ after a shooting at the St. Mary’s County school earlier this week.
That fear has become a reality, sparking change in Carroll County, where armed deputies are being placed in various schools for the remainder of the year.
“We have said, if not now? when? How else is it going to happen if we don’t take some kind of steps?” says Duane Williams, supervisor of security at Carroll County Public Schools.
The move will cost the county more than $200,000, giving select schools a law enforcement presence with a heavy emphasis on the middle and high school level.
“There’s basically some certain criteria that we used to determine which schools that the deputies are deployed at,” Williams said.
Students and parents tell WJZ they’re relieved.
“I think it’s a good idea. It feels like a happy medium for everyone,” Winters Mill High School student Tucker Adams said. “I think it will make everyone feel safe and secure.”
Just days ago, a school resource officer brought the shooting at Great Mills to a quick end.
“No matter where you are, how close you are, you can’t get through that quickly unless you’re in the building. So the quicker you’re there, the quicker response time, is very important for the students and the people in that building,” says Dennis Frazier, president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.
While the move only covers public schools for the remainder of the year, it’s what officials hope is a steppingstone to getting resource officers in every high school.
“We’re doing our best to be proactive, and help out, make the schools in Carroll County as secure as they can possibly be,” Frazier said.
If the county switched to the school resource officer program next year — just with a focus on high schools — that would run about $1.2 million.
County officials said they will turn to Annapolis and the federal government to help with funding for the next school year.