$1.2 million for added security in Harford County Schools

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 18:35:59-04

It will cost another 1.2 million dollars but by 2019, Harford County's already existing school resource officer program will now be expanded to every middle and high school.

Fallston, North Harford, Patterson Mill, Southampton and Bel Air Middle Schools will all come online next year.

The sheriff says it creates a more central and complete SRO program.

"So obviously it is a huge step forward for our program, having a school resource officer assigned to each high school and middle school countywide, even in the municipal agencies is a huge step forward," Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said.

Gahler will be hiring seven more SRO's to round out the force and it will take about nine months to train them.

The hope is to have them in schools by at least the beginning of the next calendar year.

In addition, the county will also upgrade security cameras and radio coverage while continuing to improve building security at the county's elementary schools

But Harford County is also adding 250 thousand dollars toward a 24-hour crisis center for mental health and addiction.

An important emotional component to this very physical security plan the superintendent Barbara Canavan said, "All of those things are important, but really and truly and I don’t use this word lightly, embracing our children and knowing who is sitting in front of us."

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said the new bill for all this will be just more than two million dollars out of the budget

While Annapolis may still help with some funding, the county says they couldn't wait for the state.

"I always stress one size doesn't fit all,” Glassman said, “I think counties and school boards should have the chance to work together and come up with a system that works best for them."