Carroll schools' security chief wants power to arrest

Superintendent says it could help in emergencies

February 01, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The coordinator of security for Carroll County schools has taken the first step toward obtaining the authority to make arrests on school property, something only a few school systems in Maryland allow.

Lawrence E. Faries Jr., who accepted the newly created post Nov. 1, has received state police approval to be sworn as a police officer. If the step is approved by school officials, Faries will complete the paperwork and be sworn in by Larry Shipley, the county's clerk of the Circuit Court.

William H. Hyde, superintendent of county schools, supports Faries' effort to obtain full police powers on school property.

"If it can help him be more effective and be more efficient in doing his job, I'm in favor of it," Hyde said. "It certainly would be an asset in case of an emergency."

As security coordinator, Faries, a 28-year veteran of the Maryland State Police who retired with the rank of captain, was hired to help plan and implement behavioral programs, train staff and serve as a liaison between the school system and state and local police, school officials said.

Beyond assessing each county school property, Faries is available daily for consultation on security policies and to respond to crises.

In less than three months as security chief, Faries has assessed 28 of 37 county schools and written what he dubs a "generic emergency plan."

"It contains all the basics -- prevention, intervention and post-vention -- and can be implemented or adapted, as needed, by each principal," he said.

Unlike some school systems across the nation where violent incidents have occurred, Carroll has not experienced any serious emergencies, Faries said.

"We're more likely to have petty thefts or an occasional hallway shoving match," he said.

Learning how to plan for and handle such incidents will be the topic of two in-service training days for teachers and administrators this month and next, Faries said.

Detective John Reginaldi from Baltimore County, nationally recognized for his expertise in crime prevention, will discuss external and internal controls -- lighting, door locks, alarm systems, visitor passes -- that can be considered and implemented, he said.

Faries would prefer that staff in every school wear photo-identification badges and that every visitor be required to sign in and out at a school's office and be given a visitor's badge to wear while in the building.

Faries has seen no severe security problems but noted that high schools and middle schools are more difficult to safeguard because of their physical size.

He declined to say if police were conducting any undercover operations within any schools, but said he would support such efforts as well as random searches by drug-sniffing police dogs of cars or lockers.

Schools with portable classrooms have additional security concerns, he noted.

Faries recommends that doors not frequently used be locked, so that visitors would have to use main entrances, where they are more likely to be observed.

Should a crisis occur, staff members have procedures to follow, from who dials 911 to who monitors which hallway or directs students to a particular location.

"The cooperation has been terrific, and policies will be reviewed annually," Faries said.

In reviewing Faries' efforts, Hyde called his security chief a "tremendous asset."

"Larry has something that none of us possess. He can walk in, assess a site and see it in a way that others can't," he said.

Faries also is involved in helping form an association of school security directors with counterparts from Baltimore City and Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Pub Date: 2/01/99

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