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Plum School District considers starting its own police force

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, April 19, 2018, 11:39 a.m.
A police force like one at the Gateway School District is being considered for Plum schools.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
A police force like one at the Gateway School District is being considered for Plum schools.

Plum School District may be starting its own police force.

Board Vice President Vicky Roessler proposed the idea for increasing school security at this month's workshop meeting. She and Superintendent Brendan Hyland met Gateway School District officials recently to see how their 13-officer force is operated. The Monroeville school district has had its own police force since 2016.

“They should be commended for what they've created,” she said. “They gave us a lot of information. We should move forward with pursuing that. We have to look at being proactive.”

Gateway's force is manned by officers who have retired from other departments in the region. They're part-time employees paid at least $18 an hour. The Gateway police budget is $325,392, with $288,532 allocated for salaries. Roessler said Plum's safety budget is $328,000. It was unclear if that would be enough to fund the force.

“I'd like to cost it out,” school Director Scott Kolar said. “It doesn't hurt to look.”

The district has security personnel at the high school, and one resource officer provided by Plum police.

Roessler said a district police force is necessary because it would provide protection in every building, and officers could develop positive relationships with the students.

“With what's happening in this day and age, there is no excuse for not going above and beyond to protect all students,” she said. “We are working on our 2018-19 budget now. I'd like to see if we can implement this as soon as possible.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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