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Poland schools beef up security

Published: Tue, January 15, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.


By Ashley Luthern



The board of education agreed Monday to allow a Poland Township police officer in all school buildings and to spend up to $80,000 in security upgrades districtwide.

Poland Trustees Mark Naples, Robert Lidle Jr. and Eric Ungaro offered a full-time police officer to be dedicated to school security. Currently, an officer makes periodic checks of the high school.

“Everybody is in agreement and has the understanding that every school district has a million and one security issues going on and they all cost money. We’re trying to make it as feasible as possible. We will give you a full-time officer from now until the end of the school year,” Ungaro said.

Police Chief Brian Goodin said the department’s schedule will be rearranged for an officer to begin working in the schools next week.

Township officers do have police powers in Poland Village, where four of the district’s schools are, and school and township officials said they will work with village officials, too. The trustees also pledged to apply for grants to fund a school-resource officer.

The school board also heard from Thomas A. Madej of Team 8e Architecture, which toured the district’s buildings Dec. 21 to examine building entrances.

Madej proposed installing programs to lock down doors at specific times and have video cameras at the doors for school personnel to see who is at the door.

“What we liked about automated electronic access control is that [key] fobs have information stored on them, and now you have a record of who is going in and out of the door,” Madej said.

A couple of fobs, small key-sized hardware devices, could be designated for students to use during recess, he said. They can be programmed only to work during certain times of the day.

“If [a key fob] is lost, it’s very easy to cancel it, and then it’s no good anymore. There’s a lot of flexibility with this type of system,” Madej said.

The school board approved spending up to $80,000 and declared an urgent necessity, contingent upon approval from legal counsel, to move forward immediately instead of bidding out the project.

Madej said the project should be completed in four to five weeks, but that time will lengthen considerably if the school board must bid out the work.

Treasurer Don Stanovcak said the majority of the $80,000 will come from the school’s permanent improvement fund with the remainder taken out of operating expenses.

Interim Superintendent Don Dailey said securing building entrances and adding a police presence to schools were the primary recommendations from district parent-staff security committees that were recently convened in each building.

“We just nailed the two biggest concerns tonight,” he said.


1BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

It's nice to see school boards and Trustees working together for their community. Not like that in every community. It is not like that in mine.

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2my2037(2 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Ahhh, the joys of more civil servants retireing in their 40s and getting a taxpayer-paid pension for another 40 years. How about hireing retired law enforcement guys with no additional benefits and only 401k's...no pensions to be left to our grandkids.

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3poland21(108 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

my2037: who is retiring and being rehired???

A full time Township Police officer will be dedicated to the schools between now and June. In the summer, the officer will be dedicated to the township. By Fall, there will hopefully be grant funding in place to cover the cost of the officer to be back in the schools.

The Township Trustees and Police have truly stepped up to assist the schools, and they deserve a huge Thank you!

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4redeye1(5514 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

poland21 Butler Pa. just hired a retired state troopers to protect their students. They are paying $14.50 an hr to do this. Why can't Poland look into this too.

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5EDGE(2 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

You don't know all the facts. Rob Peter to pay Paul. A 30 year veteran just retired from the Poland Township Police Department. He is not being replaced. As stated in the article, Poland School District is not paying a dime for the officer who will be working a 40 hour work week in the schools. That makes 2 officers lost to the daily staffing and operations of the Poland Township Police Department which equates to 40 shifts a month that need to be filled (or not filled?).

STOP! Don't think for one moment that I'm suggesting that an armed police officer shouldn't be in the schools. All students and staff should be in an environment that is as safe as it can be made.

Our property taxes aren't going down, so why is our police department shrinking. Our school taxes have increased and yet the school district somehow managed to have the trustees force the police chief to run skeleton shifts. The domino effect continues. The only plain cloths detective will be forced to work cruiser duty at least one or two shifts a week. Anyone that is familiar with the Poland Township investigations knows they have a very successful solve rate for some very serious and diverse crimes. That will not be the case when your only detective cannot investigate his cases. Every part time officer has a full time job. They cannot fill 40 additional shifts in addition to the shifts they are currently working.

One trustee ran his campaign on re-implementing a school resource officer. Seems he kept his word while weakening the effectiveness of our police outside of the school.

Talk to a Poland Township police officer. The department and its officers are being turned upside down to accommodate placing an officer in the schools and the chief has no say. They are being bulldozed by the trustees, which is common place. Two trustees if still in high school would be the "bullies".

The police always wanted an officer in the schools and for three years there was an officer in the high school. It was the school board that didn’t want to fund it any longer. Now they get an officer back and still aren’t paying for it.

Solution; School district funds the officer for 9 months of the year. Township replaces the retired officer and provides the funding for the additional 3 months for the second officer.

The police did step up. They reworked a contract proposal that would reduce a new hire entry rate considerably. Not to mention that the retired sergeant rate of pay would be much higher then a new hire with the pay scale not even being changed for an entry level patrolman. I for one would appreciate someone explaining to me what is going on.

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6BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Edge ....... How do you know they are not hiring another officer? You talk like you have some inside scoop. Let us in on it.

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