BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — More security will soon come to elementary schools in Harford County thanks to a grant providing funding for additional school resource officers in locations that did not have them.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said it’s troubling but responsible to now have school resource officers in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.
“We’re there to help and we’re there because people felt like we needed to be there,” Gahler said. “So we’re answering the call like we always do and hopefully that conveys to the public.”
Senior Deputy Lee Mink is one of the three school resource officers that will start making their rounds between the elementary schools starting November 16.
“The training is really centered on going inside a school building, supporting the school building while working with the community at large, but most importantly supporting our students to provide a safe learning environment,” Mink said.
Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace municipalities have their own school resource officers, but a $382,000 grant from the state made it possible to put more officers in schools.
“Bringing officers into the schools, I think there needs to be, and the children that conversation needs to take place prior to the officers coming in because the kids need to know there’s a new person covering their day-to-day life,” said Chief of Safety and Security Donovan Brooks.
Parents said they see the need but hope there is a conversation about the new presence. Superintended Sean Bulson agrees.
“Our existing school resource officers did a nice job finding time to get out to other schools, but we will make sure that they are welcomed as a key part of our team which we know they are going to be, and introducing them to the students is a big part of that,” Bulson said.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has pledged $3 million a year to the program.
The three new school resource officers will make their rounds between nine elementary schools each.
Those schools include:
- Church Creek
- Forest Hill
- Forest Lakes
- Fountain Green
- John Archer
- North Bend
- North Harford
- Prospect Mill
- Red Pump
- Ring Factory
- William S James
- William Paca/ Old Post Rd
- Youth’s Benefit