ShareThis Page
Plum School District’s police force adds 2 more officers | TribLIVE.com
Plum/Oakmont

Plum School District’s police force adds 2 more officers

Michael DiVittorio
807876_web1_plum-high-school-sign

A retired state trooper and a retired New Kensington detective have joined the Plum School District police force.

Board members unanimously voted to hire Dwight Locke and Jim Horwatt Tuesday night.

The move brings the district’s police force to four officers and its supervisor, former McKeesport Capt. of Detectives Tim Hanna.

Superintendent Brendan Hyland said it will take approximately three weeks or less to petition Allegheny County courts to approve the two new hires as armed officers and have them patrolling the schools.

The district formed its own police force last year with the goal of having at least one officer in each of the buildings. It could hire another officer by the end of March.

Hanna screened the police candidates, who both have experience working with students and many years in law enforcement.

“Dwight (Locke) has an intimate knowledge of the district,” said Hanna. “He’s got kids that graduated from here. He’s got grand kids in the school district now. He worked security (at the high school), knows a lot of the safety protocols. A lot of the stuff that he knows I would have to teach to someone new.”

Locke worked as a state trooper for multiple years and spent the last 10 as a Plum High School security guard. He’s the uncle of current Oblock Junior High and Holiday Park Elementary Officer Joe Locke.

Horwatt is a retired New Kensington police detective sergeant and current Gateway School District police officer. He’s also a certified Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor and is leaving Gateway to come to Plum.

“Everything we talked about was student-centered and about being a positive role model,” Hanna said of Horwatt’s interview. “This is another one coming to us with school-based experience.”

Craig Harnish, who patrols Center and Pivik elementaries, worked as a Gateway police officer last year.

Hanna said the district’s police force has a three-year labor contract, with officers making $22 per hour the first year, $23.50 in year two and $25 the final year.

District officials said officers have been welcomed by students and the community.

“I’m very happy with what they’re doing,” school board President Scott Coulson said. “The feedback from the students is most important to me. Our students feel safe. That’s our highest priority.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Plum
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.