Somerset Borough police welcomed in area schools
AMBER ROSADO Staff writer, @DA_Amber Daily American
9:23 p.m. EDT, May 20, 2013
A police officer is now monitoring the halls of the Somerset Area School District.
Somerset Borough police Chief Randy Cox told council members during Monday’s meeting that the officer-in-school program is being implemented successfully. The program started Thursday.
Cox said at first there were some concerns about hiring an extra officer — before the agreement was passed by the school board and the borough council. He said the department has been short-handed because an officer is on leave.
“The detectives and administration decided that we would each take one day a week out at the schools to kick the program off,” Cox said.
He said this will continue until the end of the school year in June and then resume in the next school year. A new officer will be hired and trained during the summer.
Cox said during his visit the students were enthusiastic and appreciative to have a police officer present.
“The kids were really excited to see us there, especially the younger ones. I would just stand there and get high-fives from them,” Cox said.
In the fall the interior and exterior of the schools will patrolled by four to six officers who will be working on a rotation. The school district will pay $32 an hour for the officers throughout the school year to cover equipment and other costs.
Superintendent Krista Mathias said although the program is still in its early stages, she has received positive feedback from parents and teachers.
“We will be refining the process alongside borough police to constantly monitor security policies and practices,” Mathias said.
Discussions about police coverage at the school began in January in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. Twenty-six children and adults were killed.
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