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Increased Police Presence at B-W Public Schools This Week

District superintendent says that the idea is to form a relationship with local law enforcement.

While he acknowledged that , has sped up the process, Superintendent Dr. Randal A. Lutz said on Wednesday that an increased police presence at Baldwin-Whitehall School District buildings this week is due to his desire to have a strong, lasting relationship with local law enforcement.

As part of their ordinary patrols, armed police officers are appearing near and inside of the district's five public schools more often this week than they have in recent memory.

The Baldwin Borough Police Department is patrolling McAnnulty and W.R. Paynter elementary schools, while the Whitehall Police Department patrols Whitehall Elementary, J.E. Harrison Middle and Baldwin High schools.

"Of course, the events of last Friday have caused everyone to look at what they're doing and see where their strengths are and what any concerns may be in the area of security," Dr. Lutz said. "That's something that we've always been trying to do, but I'd be naïve to say that, when you have something like this occur, it doesn't increase and ramp up your vigilance."

However, Lutz also said that, dating back to his time as the principal of J.E. Harrison Middle, he has been a strong proponent of local police officers and school employees—particularly building principals—having an established familiarity with one another and their surroundings, regardless of recent events.

"In a time of need, that principal—that's the key communicator," Lutz said. "So we need to make sure that we have those open lines of communication back and forth."

Police officers, like other visitors to district schools, must check in at the buildings' main offices/security desks.

"I welcome them into the building," Lutz said of the officers. "I think it's great to see that presence.

"I want that presence to continue. To me, it's not a short-range thing. It (the Newtown incident) may have prompted something to happen a little quicker than otherwise was happening, but it's (the police presence is) a good thing. And I'm very much in support of it.

"This should not be an event. This should be more of a practice."

Lutz said that his welcoming attitude extends to officers of either borough, whether they're visiting a school within their jurisdictions or not.

Lutz could not say whether or not the high level of police activity at district schools this week will continue in future weeks, but he did say that he would like it to. The amount of staffing made available by the local police departments would determine that more than anything.

School district money is not being used to fund the increased police presence.

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NE12Ukid December 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
"This should not be an event. This should be more of a practice." I agree. I think each school should make a comfortable desk area available to all police officers who may stop by, someplace where they might get some of their regular routine paperwork done instead of while sitting out in a car.
Rock Solid December 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Why stop with a comfortable desk area. How about a heated recliner with a caddy to hold coffee and donuts?
NE12Ukid December 22, 2012 at 07:39 PM
another cop basher, I see.
Charles A McLaughlin December 24, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Well, well well, It's about time!! Having a uniformed officer in schools is long overdue. I notice when there are concerts, sporting events, etc, the presence of uniformed officers keeps some semblence of order. Even in bars and clubs, the presence of a uniformed officer seems to deter or limit the amount of problems. If the BW school system adopts this program, it will deter students as well as outsiders from causing problems and create a better learning environment. I see not only the officer's presence as a deterrant but also as a great vehicle to have the younger population learn and appreciate their role in our lives. If you can imagine a young student not discussing problems, concerns and building a rapport with an officer who they get to see everyday, I can't. Trust in the officer and those who serve with them can rapidly turn doubts fear and mistrust into appreciation and the knowledge that, they are safe. I'll buy the coffee and donuts. Although, I spent most of my life in Pittsburgh, being semi-retired and still working I now reside in Baldwin.I feel qualified to write this observation as my 27+ years as a District Judge has taught me a lot. I have spent quite a bit of time working with law enfrocement agencies in schools and working together with various student oriented, programs. Charles A. McLaughlin

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