Pennsylvania State Troopers Add School Safety Checks to Patrols

Pennsylvania State Troopers Add School Safety Checks to Patrols

In areas with no local police coverage, state police troopers will be required to stop by campuses once per shift, a total of three times a day.

Pennsylvania State Police are adding campus safety checks to their patrols in an effort to increase school security, Gov. Tom Wolf and Acting Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick announced Wednesday. In areas with no local police coverage, state police troopers will be required to stop by campuses once per shift, a total of three times a day.

The move is inspired in part by feedback received by Wolf’s School Safety Task Force, which held six meetings and received more than 800 public comments online, according to Pennsylvania Homeland Security director Marcus Brown. The task force issued 32 recommendations last month, including recommendations that schools hire trained security guards or look for increased police protection.

“A theme that resonated at all of the School Safety Task Force regional meetings was that students and faculty feel safer if there is a visible presence of a community safety resource at our schools,” Wolf said. “The Pennsylvania State Police will help support safer schools with enhanced trooper presence.”

The safety checks are a proactive security measure and were not prompted by any threats or incidents, said Lt. Col. Robert Evanchick, acting state police commander.

"The department has made it a priority to enhance our presence at schools to not only help us identify and address potential issues, but also to open the lines of communication," Evanchick said.

State troopers will visit at a variety of times during the day and night, performing duties ranging from perimeter and parking lot checks to going inside to interact with students and staff.

"[Tasks] could be as simple as waiting in the patrol car in the parking lot as the buses load or unload, or even walking inside the school, visiting with administration and students," said Cpl. Adam Reed, a state police spokesman.

The daily safety checks are also an opportunity for troopers to familiarize themselves with the layout of buildings on campuses, which will help if they have to respond in an emergency, according to Trooper David C. Beohm, Troop L. public information officer.

The safety checks will continue for the remainder of the school year. While the focus is on schools in more rural areas, where the state police is the primary form of law enforcement, schools in areas with local police departments will also be visited by state police “as time and resources allow”.

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Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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