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Franklin Regional files petition to establish police force

Patrick Varine
| Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, 10:33 a.m.
Franklin Regional officials have petitioned the Court of Common Pleas to establish a school-district police force.
Franklin Regional officials have petitioned the Court of Common Pleas to establish a school-district police force.

Franklin Regional School District officials are looking for men and women with prior police experience to staff their internal police force, according to a petition filed with the Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

The district voted to file the petition in May, asking the court to empower a three-person department consisting of an officer, a supervisor in charge and an assistant supervisor in charge.

Applicants will be required to have graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy and served as a state trooper, or to have graduated from a municipal police academy and been employed by a municipal or county police department.

School police officers will be allowed to carry firearms once they receive proper training.

District officials asked the court to appoint recently-hired director of safety and security, former assistant director for Gateway School District’s police force Timothy Skoog, as the school police chief.

If the district’s petition is granted, it will not affect the existing agreement for police coverage with the Murrysville Police Department and state police.

Gateway School District established a police force in recent years. Neighboring Plum School District also is looking into the idea .

Following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, about 60 threats were made against schools, students or teachers in southwest Pennsylvania. At least 14 juveniles across the region, ages 12 to 17, face terroristic threats charges in connection with investigations into those cases.

In 2014, Alex Hribal attacked fellow Franklin Regional High School students with kitchen knives, injuring 21. He was sentenced this year to serve up to 60 years in prison.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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