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UASD considers potential security

Upper Adams School District (UASD) presented options for a School Resource Officer (SRO) Tuesday.

Continuing the school district’s emphasis on student safety as a top priority, Superintendent Wesley Doll presented options for a potential partnership with Biglerville Borough Police Department.

Over the past decade the district has made numerous strives forward to address safety, including adding a secure entrance at the elementary school and the district admin office, implemented security cameras, and emergency preparedness flip charts, Doll said.

The district now sees the need for someone to oversee and update emergency plans, provide training, and “most importantly, building positive relationships with our students and the entire school community,” he said.

The district looks to build a relationship with an SRO, or other form of school security, to be an informal type of councilor, an emergency plan manger as well as an expert in deescalating situations to create  a safer school environment, according to Doll.

Responsibilities would include promoting safety, emergency response plans, practice emergency drills policy to increase proactively.

Doll recommended a partnership through local law enforcement.

Biglerville Police has a great relationship with the district, Police Chief Craig Hartley said, and presented potential district SRO options for the board to consider.

The SRO would be an employee of Biglerville Police Department, but with a job at UASD, Hartley said.

Law enforcement nowadays is seeing a decrease in application for officers and Hartley had a retired state police trooper in mind as a qualified potential SRO recommendation.

This potential SRO would be full-time position during school year and off in the summer with no benefits required, he said.

Although COVID-19 put a pause on school district incidents, numbers are rising again as the police department has made twenty criminal arrests already for the school year, he said.

Two potential grants were identified by Board Treasurer Susan Crouse to assist in funding for an SRO through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  

The estimated total for fiscal year 2023 would be $87,765 with $39,500 in potential grant opportunities.

Following year costs are estimated to be lower because they would not include onetime costs purchased for the first year, such as equipment

Other security service possibilities could include G-Force Security Solutions, LLC.

Board President Tom Wilson recommended the board take under consideration security potentials as well as budget needs and recommended side by side comparisons with other armed security possibilities.

“I am basically asking everyone, ‘what is the cost of safety?’” Wilson said.

The board looks to continue the discussion at its next regular meeting May 17.

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A.L. Grabenstein, reporter, is a graduate of Philadelphia's La Salle University with a B.A in Communication and has been a journalist since 2016. She has reported for the Gettysburg Times and the Times Herald in Norristown, PA. Grabenstein moved to Gettysburg from Montgomery County in 2019. She was born in San Antonio, TX., and previously lived in Virginia, and North Carolina. Grabenstein is actively involved in the borough of Gettysburg and loves giving voices to the local community.

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