Larry Burgan, 68, served as security chief in city public schools

July 25, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Larry Burgan, the widely respected former chief of the Baltimore city school police and a gun control advocate, died of a heart attack Thursday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He was 68 and lived in Perry Hall.

Mr. Burgan, whose tenure coincided with a rise in school crime, was considered a national expert in his field. He argued that metal detectors were not an effective deterrent to school crime.

He attributed school violence to the streets and neighborhoods around them.

"It is misleading to suggest that school problems with firearms can be considered apart from the very obvious problems in society," wrote Mr. Burgan in a 1986 newspaper article. "Schools are part of the communities they serve, and there are more guns in these communities every year."

That year he headed an anti-gun campaign and started a tip line for students to report anonymously on guns being carried by classmates.

In 1988, Mr. Burgan became vice president of the National Alliance for Safe Schools and spoke at seminars and conferences around the country.

He also trained security officers to work in schools.

School officials from coast to coast sought advice from Mr. Burgan, who directed a staff of 107 city school police officers at Baltimore school headquarters on North Avenue. He was an early voice warning that the guns being confiscated in the city's schools in the 1980s were linked to an increase in student drug dealing.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Burgan grew up in the Kenwood section of Baltimore County. He started his career on the Baltimore Police Department and joined the school system in 1967. He became chief of security in 1974 and retired in 1992.

Mr. Burgan was an active member of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation at Preston Street and Maryland Avenue. He was the cathedral's sexton and opened the building for services, prepared it for liturgies and assisted with weddings, funerals, baptisms and Holy Week services.

The Rev. Constantine M. Monios, dean of the cathedral, said, "Larry was known for his piety, his great sense of security and his willingness to serve his church in any way."

Mr. Burgan was tonsured -- the shape of a cross cut in his hair -- when he became a church reader in 1987, the same year he was named president of the parish council.

In his free time, he enjoyed reading novels and playing golf.

He is survived by his wife, the former Kiki Calos, whom he married 23 years ago.

Services were conducted yesterday at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.

He is also survived by two sons, Constantine Burgan of Perry Hall and James Burgan of Manchester, N.H.; a daughter, Daneen Burgan of Manchester, N.H.; and six grandchildren.

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