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Westmoreland

Westmoreland districts awarded $344K in school safety grants

Jamie Martines
| Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 12:33 p.m.
Hempfield School District’s chief resource officer, Len Lander, watches the hallways as students change classes at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, April 6, 2018. The school employs seven police officers as resource officers, who can perform investigations and make arrests if needed.
Hempfield School District’s chief resource officer, Len Lander, watches the hallways as students change classes at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, April 6, 2018. The school employs seven police officers as resource officers, who can perform investigations and make arrests if needed.

Westmoreland County schools have been awarded $344,388 in school safety grants by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The money, awarded through the department’s Office for Safe Schools, is intended to offset costs of school resource or police officers, equipment or programs related to school safety.

This grant program predates a new $60 million School Safety and Security Grant initiative managed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and created by the General Assembly in June. School districts must apply for those funds by Oct. 12.

The Hempfield Area School District, one of six Westmoreland County school districts to receive grants, got $40,000 to offset the cost of the district’s school police officers, Superintendent Tammy Wolicki said.

The school board voted in September to bring all 13 members of the district’s security team under the umbrella of the school police force. School security officers were independent contractors until Oct. 1.

Officers earn $20 per hour and receive benefits.

The Mt. Pleasant Area School District will use a $23,548 equipment grant to improve surveillance systems at Norvelt Elementary School, Superintendent Tim Gabauer said. The camera system will be upgraded and additional cameras will be installed.

Other local school districts receiving safety grants:

Greater Latrobe$30,000 school resource officer grant

$20,000 program grant

Greensburg Salem$40,000 school police officer grant

$5,240 program grant

Jeannette$85,600 school resource officer grant

$20,000 program grant

Penn-Trafford$60,000 school resource officer grant

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, jmartines@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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