Police departments to get $4 million to patrol schools

Howard, Baltimore counties to hire 31 full-time officers

April 24, 1999|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

Three days after 15 people were killed in a school shooting in Littleton, Colo., two Baltimore-area police departments are to receive nearly $4 million in federal funds to hire full-time officers to patrol primary and secondary schools.

Baltimore County police will receive $2.75 million to hire 22 officers, and the Howard County Police Department will receive $1.125 million to hire nine officers to patrol public schools.

The money is part of President Clinton's $167 million initiative called Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), an effort to add 100,000 community officers nationwide.

About $70 million has been awarded to 336 communities across the country, said Dan Pfeiffer, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.

"The recent tragedy in Littleton reminds us of the critical need to make sure our schools are safe places for America's children to learn," Clinton said in a statement released yesterday.

Sgt. Morris Carroll, a spokesman for the Howard police, said the department requested the funds late last year in collaboration with the school system.

"We're very pleased to get this grant," Carroll said. "We've been wanting this for a very long time."

Since Wednesday, Howard officers have been stationed temporarily at all high schools in the county in an effort to make students feel safe in light of Tuesday's shooting. Carroll said the federal funding will allow the department to permanently assign officers to every high school.

"The only reason we haven't had officers at each school full time is because of funding," he said.

A Baltimore County police spokeswoman declined to comment on the funding.

Pfeiffer said police departments throughout the country submitted applications in December.

To qualify for funding, departments had to ensure that all officers employed under the COPS program would be assigned to work in primary or secondary schools.

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