ShareThis Page

Penn-Trafford High School to have daily police presence

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A school resource officer will be on duty at Penn-Trafford High School five days a week this fall, bumping up from the three-days-a-week police coverage Penn Township provided in recent years.

Township and school district officials are finalizing an agreement regarding how much Penn-Trafford School District will pay toward the township's cost for the position.

The school board in 2009 agreed to pay $33,000 a year for an officer, but officials on both sides of the talks say the cost likely will be closer to $60,000 for the upcoming school year.

Though increasing coverage to five days was a topic before a knife attack injured 21 people at Franklin Regional Senior High School in April, that incident “took us from discussion on how to make this happen to ‘We're going to get this done,'” police Chief John Otto said.

“(Superintendent Matt) Harris and I have both been very committed to the safety of kids in our schools,” Otto said. “We both agree that a full-time (officer) is just the norm right now.”

Under Otto's predecessor, township officials approved having an officer at the school five days a week. But Otto said that arrangement became difficult for Penn Township because an officer costs the township upward of $100,000 for salary and benefits.

Officer David Meyers will continue to work in the school on some of the days, rotating time with another officer who has not been selected yet, Otto said.

Harris praised Meyers' work in 2013 to help to investigate a school bus monitor who is accused of sexually assaulting a special-needs student who lives in the district. That man, James Hopkins, is awaiting a trial scheduled for Sept. 8.

Last week, Meyers charged suspended high school Spanish teacher Michael Garet with stalking and other crimes related to contact with a 17-year-old student.

“To make it five days, it's a no-brainer,” Harris said. “It's best to have a person always on hand, always on scene, always present.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2363 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.