School, borough officials continue discussions to increase Plum police presence
The shooting rampage in December at a Connecticut elementary school prompted local officials to review their crisis plans.
Plum School District and borough officials continue the review and are talking about increasing the visibility of police officers in school buildings.
Borough manager Michael Thomas last week told members of the district and borough's intergovernmental committee that some of the measures to increase law-enforcement visibility include encouraging uniformed officers to have lunch with the students and permitting officers to use space in Plum's schools to write their reports.
“They are no-cost options to increase police presence in the buildings,” Thomas said. “Children would become accustomed to seeing police officers (in the schools).”
The school-security discussion was prompted by Plum Councilman Keith Nowalk asking school district Superintendent Timothy Glasspool if the district is considering adding more school resource officers.
Plum School District resource officer Mark Kost has been in the position for a decade.
Kost, also a borough police officer, visited the schools in December after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead. Kost also reviewed the district's crisis plan with staff members.
Nowalk first called for more resource officers in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.
Glasspool said last week that district officials have not had a conversation about resource officers.
Rather, district and borough officials are looking at measures such as those that Thomas mentioned.
Plum School Board President Andrew Drake has said he is comfortable with the district's security measures that are reviewed both internally and by the state Department of Education.
Plum police Chief Frank Monaco said he supports increasing police presence in the schools.
“I want to find ways to make officers more visible,” Monaco said.
The chief said he would encourage officers to have lunch with their children in the schools, as well as permitting them to occupy space in school buildings to write their reports.
Kost said he also endorses the increased police visibility.
“I could meet them (in the buildings) and show them the security measures,” Kost said.
“They would be more educated if, God forbid, they had to go in there during a crisis.”
Kost said the presence of officers in the schools also would positively affect students.
“It creates a more positive image of the officers,” Kost said.
“They see the police in a different light, and the officers get to know the kids.”
District and borough officials said they plan to continue to have discussions about school security and implementing the ideas.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.