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Harford Police, Schools: 'Heightened Awareness' In Wake Of Connecticut Shooting

There was no additional police presence at Harford County Public Schools Friday.

A struck worry in the hearts of parents across the nation and put Harford County law enforcement and school officials on alert.

While law enforcement and members of the school system were well aware of the mass shooting, there was no increase in police presence at Harford County Public Schools Friday, Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for the school system, wrote in an email to Patch.

"As soon as the news broke today the [school resource officers] went into a heightened state of awareness," Harford County Sheriff's Office spokesman Edward Hopkins wrote in an email to Patch.

The sheriff's office school policing unit is "routinely vigilant for suspicious circumstances and are quickly aware when breaking news comes out regarding school or mass shootings," Hopkins wrote.

"In light of the events today it would be normal for them to reach out and contact their school liaisons and discuss the event and any necessary preparedness," Hopkins said of school resource officers.

Kranefeld supplied the following information about routine school safety procedures:

Each school has a critical incident plan and drills are conducted every year to ensure that the plan can be executed effectively.  Harford County Public Schools has an excellent working relationship with local and state fire, police, and EMS.  Active-shooter drills are conducted with key players to practice the role of each agency in an emergency.  In addition, HCPS Administrators have been trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) program.  NIMS is an emergency preparedness program created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  All of our schools are locked down with a visitor management system in place to help ensure that all buildings remain safe.  As always, our number one priority is the safety of our students and staff.  We will continue to execute the security plans that are in place and remain vigilant.

Neighboring Baltimore County ordered patrols of schools without resource officers in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.

Tom Phelan December 15, 2012 at 01:21 AM
The HdG high school plan? Hope that someday there will be one secure building. It doesn't currently exist. Please take heed members of county council!
HarCoMom December 15, 2012 at 05:41 AM
The visitor management system? You mean buzzing anyone in that rings the bell. That's the truth. They are not asked for their name, id, child's name, etc until they are in the office.
Christopher Kidwell December 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM
That is the solution to issues like the school shooting recently. Have all doors locked during school hours (with an override from inside in case of fire) and move on. Don't automatically let someone into the school, make them come to a special window (with bulletproof glass) to be buzzed into the school through a special 'visitors' door.
G D December 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM
We probably need a system where ID and PIN# will be needed for input into a scanning type device mounted outside the school entrance. Activated after the opening bell. Truly sad that our children are no longer safe in their schools. I am a gun advocate and agree that people kill, not guns BUT, something needs to be done, this is just getting out of control, access to weapons is just too, too easy.
Christopher Kidwell December 15, 2012 at 01:07 PM
True, but that could be fixed by putting a "Window" where someone from the office is stationed in the building.
Christopher Kidwell December 15, 2012 at 01:08 PM
G D, with all due respect, they were never safe in the schools anymore than they were anywhere else. It's just that today, the school shootings are publicized nationally.
skj December 15, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I agree with all prior comments here, but who is to say that a person who gets past a security guard is not going to pull out a gun once they are already inside? I understand that the shooter's mother worked in the school. How easy would it be for a person to say they came on legitimate business and then wreak havoc once inside? It's a sad state of affairs when children are targeted and when we as parents have to fear for our children's lives in school. My heart truly goes out to those who lost their children, grandchildren, etc yesterday. However I still believe God is in control.
Jill Bracewell December 15, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I ache to the bottom of my soul for the people who lost children in this horrific act yesterday. No one should ever have to bury a child, under any circumstance, much less at the hands of someone else. I cannot imagine having to walk into my house knowing my child would never return. I cannot imagine seeing all the Christmas gifts wrapped, sitting there waiting for the child who is not coming home. All we can do is pray for these people and hold our children closer. I agree that there should be some sort of way of knowing who is coming into the schools, not just buzzing anyone in. What can the schools do about that?
Bob Allen December 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I was a counselor in Baltimore County elementary schools for 30 years and we had the buzzer system with a camera and a speaker for people to state their business before they were allowed in. But you all need to realize that schools are public institutions. People come in for teacher conferences, to see the administrators, to pick up sick kids, to register new ones. You have classes outside for recess or PE. Every classroom has an outside door, albeit a locked one. We are supposed to be receptive to parents and they always let you know when you're not. Long story short, without an armed guard at every building, elementary schools are the easiest targets there are. We all knew it but it was something we had to live with.
Bored December 15, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I have said this a thousand times. I would much rather have a trooper, town cop or sheriffs deputy (depending on the jurisdiction) assigned to every school for six hours a day protecting the kids, interacting with the kids, and interceding on troubled children's lives early in life, than spending six hours a day writing tickets for people not stopping long enough at a stop sign. Its ALL ABOUT PRIORITIES!
G D December 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Somewhat off topic but it doesn't really help things when we have raw violence and all it's gory details sensationalized and shoved in our faces 24/7 by the ratings hungry media uder the guise of the need to inform, and lets not forget prime time TV. True that violence has always been on TV to some extent but it just seems like it is now violence on steroids. Violence has always been a part of the human experience, just that now it is broadcasted for entertainment purposes rather than the need to inform. Not in this case, but just sayin.
diane denyer December 15, 2012 at 04:06 PM
It's so so sad to hear of the shooting in Conn but even with the doors being locked this maniac was still able to get in by shooting out the window next to the locked door and then entering the school. My heart aches for all the innocent lives lost and many prayers to everyone affected by this senseless crime. God Bless you all!
Crazy December 15, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Tell your friends to stop running the signs and causing accidents and the police won't be ORDERED to work them. Then the PRIORITIES will change. Oh by the way FYI, there was a time when the community didn't like when police were at the schools. In fact there are people who still feel that way especially administrators.
Otto Schmidlap December 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Certain school staff should be armed after extensive firearm safety training. It's either that, or call 911 and await law enforcement's arrival. How long would one minute seem to a potential shooting victim? A lifetime? That, unfortunately, is probably correct!
CB9678 December 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
You are aware the buzzer has a camera at it so they see who they are buzzing in?
CB9678 December 15, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Also doesn't exist at Youth's Benefit, Wm Paca/OPR and Homestead/Wakefield as well as all schools with portables!
1ke December 15, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Trying to prevent something lunatic from happening requires even more extreme lunacy. Advanced Firearm Training with an Autoloader endorsement becomes a teaching qualification? See how wild people get when the wheels fall off?
franking December 15, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I agree with Otto. All a shooter would have to do to get around an armed security guard is surprise him and make him the first victim. A few teachers from every school that have a concealed weapon would be more effective for prevention as well as acting in the event of an actual shooting.
Marylee Archer December 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM
First line of defense is the buzzer and camera. I've been in the school offices many times and I know how busy the desk is. They can see the person outside but they may or may not know if that person actually comes into the office since there are usually phones ringing and other people demanding their attention. There needs to be someone at the door to check ID and maybe even purses and bags. Aren't our children important enough? They do it at the courthouse. Children should be able to be safe at school!!!
Gary Olivier December 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
They took prayer out of school and society went to hell in a hand basket. No, I am not a bible thumper or a holy roller. Just my observation over the years. I graduated from Bel Air High in 1976 and we did not have this type of violence, just an occasional fist fight.
1ke December 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Actually, things started to roll downhill after the lunar landing in 1969.
Bored December 16, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Sorry Crazy, but since Harford County doesn't have speed cameras (other than Bel Air), it's just a money grab. No one in Harford County in the past ten years has died from not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. Maybe they should be on RT 543 where people are actually dying monthly. Having a cop at each scholl from at least 9-3 is a great idea. Sorry is you'll be bored chatting with kids all day.
CB9678 December 16, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Are you claiming that God is punishing us for not forcing children to pray to a God they may or may not believe in?
PcTech December 16, 2012 at 03:57 AM
That's nonsense. Obviously you don't believe in Freedom of Religion.
Crazy December 16, 2012 at 03:38 PM
bored, ur right but when told to work a stop sign because neighbors are complaining we dont have a choice. Yea I know rules are made to be broken right, we as police need to think for ourselves right and not follow stupid orders. And your definitely right working in a school 9-3 is boring but if you think having a police officer in every school will stop the shootings its not. Plus there are not enough police to work at every school let alone the road. Maybe you should call the sheriff and tell him to stop taking deputies off the road and put them in specialized units or filling his command staff. How about taking Lieutenants and Capts. and other leaders off the desk and have them work the schools. And good luck asking for troopers. At most there are only 2-3 troopers working the road daily. They are short as it is. Another way is pay the deputies, officers or troopers as secondary employment to work the schools. It will cost money but there has to be a balance out there.
tammy December 16, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I also noticed a lot of people who where already buzzed in holding the door for others behind them. Something relly needs to change!!
Bored December 16, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Crazy, thats just crazy. Who calls the police and says people are running stop signs, pure non sense. But I guess that explains all of the drug activity and crime in the area. If you only have 3 troopers on the road and they all all writing b.s. tickets for stop signs, then I guess the criminals can run free. But you have to admit it is a lot safer pulling over stay at home moms and writing b.s. tickets all day than going into the drup havens of the County and taking these gangs down. No money in taking the gangs down and yea, you might get shot. No stay at home mom is going to do that, right? But back to the main point, if you guys have time to feed the coffers of the State all day, then you have time to hang out at a school. Believe me, I have no beef with you people, I am a stay at home mom, so needless to say, I have a clean driving record since I don't drive much. I just see too much attention paid to raising money and not protecting citizens. You do understand you main function is to protect people from criminals, don't you?
Crazy December 17, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Bored u may think its nonsense but its a fact. People call all the time about stop signs. Let me guess you have insite to police like that where we make this up, right? I would rather go into the drug areas then write stop signs because believe me I personnelly am not afraid of these turds. I tell you what why don't tell the elected officials to stop having us write stupid tickets to fill the coffers and let us do our job, like fighting crime. Also since you are one of those people, stay at home moms, look up crime stat, state stat or call the governor about it. YOu will see what they want, revenue. And by the way I do have a problem with you people, soccer moms, SUV moms, or whatever you are called now. You are some of the worst drivers out there. Another thing one of my functions is also to enforce md traffic laws too.
Bored December 17, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Well Crazy I am impressed that I finally found a cop that admits that the whole job is all about the money. It supports my theory that your time would be better served sitting in a school or WALKING a beat in a mall, shopping center, neighborhood, athletic event, etc. Yes, somewhere where there are lots of people to protect. Please don't lecture anyone on driving. Actually, the worst drivers out there as a group according to a national study are the police. Why, because all the laws we have to follow, you are exempt. I just saw a story on this on Dateline last week where you cops are typing on lap tops while driving, talking on the phone (and typing on the lap top too), writing on notepads, some Depts. typing on smart devices while you are driving. Thank God for dash board cameras because they actually catch you guys running lights, stop signs, rear ending cars at lights and causing general mayhem when not paying attention to the road. Some Depts. in the mid west (obviously smart people) have wired the partol cars to disable all of that stuff when the vehicle is moving more than three miles per hour. While I am thinking about it, in a recent Montgomery County study of revenue cameras, guess which group had the greatest violation of speed and school zone cameras violations, you guessed it, the police. In the majority of the tickets, no emergenzy lights were on, but I have no doubt in every one of those tickets (which no one pays) they were heading to a call.
mom24 December 19, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Can you people quit this bickering?! Especially the so called police officer. You are supposed to be a respected individual who people look to for security and you are on here bickering like a teenager. Bottom line is the harford county public school systems and the harford county sheriff's office need to be working together to come up with more effective security regulations and safety procedures. Now quit feuding and hug your loved one. Life is a gift.

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