Carroll County Public Schools joined with local law enforcement agencies Friday to announce the Adopt-A-School Program, which aims to increase school security and enhance health and safety instruction with the participation of police officers.
"Preventing criminal activity and increasing the level of security in our buildings are the ultimate goals of Adopt-A-School," said Larry Faries, CCPS coordinator of school security. "You cannot put a price tag on the benefit of this program."
County officials announced the program at a news conference in the Carroll County Board of Education Board Room.
Law enforcement agencies increased patrol checks to county schools in January following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and Adopt-A-School will continue those daily checks, according to Faries.
"Adopt-A-School will enhance what is already in place and create an even stronger police presence at our facilities," he said.
In addition to patrol checks through Adopt-A-School, police officers will begin to co-teach health classes in grades 2, 5, 7, 8, and high school Health 1 courses.
Police officers have always visited classrooms to speak to students, but now they will be more involved in the instruction of some subjects.
Most officers have already been trained and have been working with county health teachers throughout the summer on the county curriculum, according to Dawn Rathgeber, Assistant Supervisor of Health Education.
"They're well adversed to the curriculum already," she said.
Sheriff Ken Tregonning said about 20 officers countywide will be involved in the program, with 12 of those coming from the Sheriff's Office.
Officers from the Maryland State Police, Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville, Taneytown, and Westminster Police Departments will also be involved.
When not in the classrooms, officers will be required to perform a daily check in, including foot patrols and observing school activities, with schools in their patrol area, according to Tregonning.
"It's time for a greater presence by law enforcement within the school system not only in education, but also in school security," he said. "This program is going to give it that tenfold."
Tregonning added that officers have received active shooter training offered by the FBI to ensure officers are prepared that any incident that could happen.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun