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Officials to outline major changes for school police force

The Baltimore City school police display weapons confiscated from students and adults on school grounds. They are asking the city delegation to reconsider tabling a bill that would allow them to be armed. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore city school officials will announce major changes to the operations of the city school police force that includes pulling officers out of some schools, sources with knowledge of the plan told The Baltimore Sun.

The plan, which will be outlined in staff meetings on Tuesday, is a relaunching of the police force in the wake of a decision by the city delegation to the General Assembly to table a bill that would have allowed officers to be armed while patrolling schools during the school day.

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The plan will include new deployment strategies for the department that will still allow officers to patrol and respond to schools, sources say.

Baltimore city school officials did not respond to a request for information or comment.

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The role of city school police has been debated in recent weeks following the failed legislative measure to arm them at all times which divided parents, political leaders and educators. City school police are not allowed under the law to be armed inside schools, unlike local police who patrol schools in other jurisdictions across the state.

The failed bill also left in limbo how officers would be able to continue to staff schools without breaking the law. Officers can be armed on patrol outside schools and often took their weapons inside schools even though that's not allowed under the law. The bill was aimed at giving them legal clarity.

Earlier this month, city schools CEO Gregory Thornton said he was auditing the department's roles and responsibilities for efficiencies and compliance. He also said he would use the debate in Annapolis to make the department "better."

He said the district would announce "a new direction for the police force soon."

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erica.green@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EricaLG

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