The Palm Beach County School District issued a press release regarding new police aides and an update on security procedures. Chief Public Information Officer Nat Harrington confirmed the aides will not be armed, will be stationed at front gates to check identification for people coming on campus and will have radios to call for help immediately if needed. They will be hired as part of the school police system at a cost of $400,000, which will be funded from vacant positions that are no longer needed.
The release is as follows:
Superintendent Wayne Gent has announced that the district will immediately begin placing police aides at schools that do not have a single point of entry as the district continues working to maximize safety at all schools. The police aides will work closely with the principals to further tighten security by patrolling the schools’ front gates and perimeters to ensure only authorized persons are allowed on campuses.
Immediately following the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last month, Superintendent Gent implemented a comprehensive, districtwide safety plan designed to maintain, and where possible, improve the safety and security of all students, staff, parents, volunteers and others on school campuses districtwide. The police aides are a part of that plan.
The security plan includes:
- Communication to all students, parents and employees
- A districtwide security review
- A districtwide facilities review
- Immediate work where needed
- A School Police-led Crisis Plan review, updating and training
- Student and staff counseling
Status of the comprehensive reviews:
- Police Aides will be assigned to all schools that do not have a single point of entry
- Review and updating of all School Crisis Plans-ongoing
- Facilities Services staff receiving and responding to requests-ongoing
- Facilities Services has completed a number of security-related work orders
- Repairs include repairing and securing fences, gates, locks, windows and lights
- Priority continues to be given to security-related work orders
The comprehensive security review is expected to be completed in 2 to 3 weeks.