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Howard County's new initiative to help improve school safety

Increased officer patrols in Howard Co. schools
Posted at 11:25 AM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 17:54:43-04

Howard County Police Department (HCPD) has started a new regulation that will not only strengthen the relationship between police officers and citizens, but will also help improve school safety.

Last week, police officers from HCPD began making regular foot patrols inside every school in the county. This will include all elementary, middle, high and private schools. These officers will be routinely stopping into schools that are in their assigned beats to walk the halls, talk with teachers and administrators and even have lunch with the students. 

"It’s important for the officer, who would be the first responder from that beat if there were to be an emergency, for that person to be familiar with the school, to know who’s in the front office and to know the layout of the school," police department spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said. 

A similar effort is going on in Carroll County. Sheriff's deputies are now stationed inside some of their schools.

Llewellyn said they starting planning this initiative in Howard County a few weeks ago. One of their goals is to show the community that school safety is a top priority. 

 

"I think there is of course a heightened sensitivity and nervousness about safety in schools, and while we have not had any legitimate threat in any Howard County school, we want people to be reassured about the safety and security in schools in Howard County," Llewellyn said. 

 

She said this is just one small part of an overall effort to increase security. Police officers have been assigned to every high school and some middle schools as School Resource Officers (SROs) for years, but Howard County is currently looking for ways to expand this program into every middle school. Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill requiring all public schools to have an armed officer during school hours.