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Friday, January 25th, 2013

Officers to patrol school

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - St. Marys police officers on Monday will begin patrolling the district's three school buildings on an informal, random basis to enhance security.
Superintendent Shawn Brown on Thursday said the district and police department came to an agreement to add the random patrols to the officers' regular daily duties. The added duties will not cost the district or department any extra money.
"They already regularly drive around the schools," Brown said. "Now they'll take the time to walk through the schools and be a presence."
The program is intended to build on the school's existing partnership with the police department to protect staff and students. The officers will be in uniform, and students are encouraged to ask questions and talk to them if they have concerns.
"It'll be very informal," Brown said. "Hopefully, the presence of the officers will put people's minds at ease."
Brown said he encourages parents of primary and intermediate students to discuss the matter with their children. The administration and staff also will talk about the change with students.
Several area schools have put new security measures in place, such as locking more doors and allowing visitors to enter through only one door near an office, since the nation was shaken by a shooter who killed 26 children and adults at an elementary school in Connecticut on Dec. 14.
Staff and students also have been undergoing training on what to do if an intruder invades a school. Many are being taught to barricade doors, find objects in the classroom to use as a weapon and fight back.
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