Police chief wants officer in Latrobe Elementary
Latrobe's police chief is promoting a plan to place one of his officers in Latrobe Elementary School, a reaction to the shootings of 20 students and six staff in a Connecticut elementary school in December.
A school resource officer would not only provide security at the Ligonier Street school but would serve in an educational role, Chief James Bumar said on Tuesday.
“They definitely would have to be armed. An unarmed security resource officer is the first victim, usually,” Bumar said.
Establishing the position is part of Bumar's strategic plan for school security, but he has not presented the proposal to school district or city officials. The district and the city would have to determine how to pay for the position, Bumar said.
Bumar told city council on Monday that he met with Greater Latrobe School District officials to review a strategic plan he has developed in the event a gunman invades the elementary school, the only public school in the city. His police officers and the department's dog toured the school to become familiar with the layout, Bumar said.
He discussed security procedures with district Superintendent Judith Swigart and other school officials and wants to have further meetings with the school board.
Latrobe Deputy Mayor Kenneth Baldonieri said he was not aware of any proposal for a school resource officer. School board President Susan Mains said the board had not discussed the issue because its first meeting since the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., was on Tuesday. The administration has updated its security procedures, Mains said.
The district has not approached the city about stationing a police officer in the elementary school, but the city is willing to work with the district on the matter, city manager Alex Graziani said.
If the school district has the money for such a program and wants a police officer in the school, “that is totally their call,” Graziani said.
Swigart said the district has never had a police officer serve as a resource officer in the schools, and the district has does not have funding to pay for a resource officer.
The district has reviewed its safety and security policy with the state and city police and the county Sheriff's Department, Swigart said.
Among school districts in Westmoreland County, Franklin Regional has an agreement with Murrysville to continue its school resource officer program this school year at a cost of almost $71,000.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency does not have a dedicated funding stream to provide school districts with a grant for a school resource officer, said Robert K. Merwine, director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency‘s Office of Criminal Justice Systems Improvement.
But, the commission announced it received $5.8 million in federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds that are available for local projects that support one or more of nine objectives identified in the commission's strategic plan. A school resource officer component could be considered under this competitive funding opportunity based on how the project aligns with these objectives and funding requirements, Merwine said.
Bumar said he intends to have his officers undergo training in school security to be aware of new developments.
Before entering the school resource officer program, officers undergo 40 hours of special training to function as an officer in school settings, work as a problem solver and develop teaching skills, the state commission said.
The chief said he has no timeline for implementing his plan.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-3562 or email@example.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Western Pa. retirees skip relaxing, instead head back to school
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Westmoreland County judge denies appeal of convicted wife killer
- Route 981 sewage project could cost less
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes