Md. sheriff's office awarded $92K state grant to help bolster school security
An Allegany County program places trained security personnel, some active and some retired police officers, deputies and troopers, in the schools to provide security
By Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News, Md.
CUMBERLAND, Md. — A state grant totaling $92,800 has been awarded to the Allegany County Sheriff's Office to help maintain staffing of security personnel in area schools.
News of the grant was disclosed at the regular meeting of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners held Thursday at the county office complex on Kelly Road.
The grant was awarded to Allegany County by the Maryland Center for School Safety.
"We really appreciate the Center for School Safety because they are helping make this very important program possible," Sheriff Craig Robertson said.
The Allegany County Board of Education has overseen a program for several years that places trained security personnel, some active and some retired police officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers, in the schools to provide security.
"We've had them in there for the last several years," Robertson said. "We apply for the grant to help offset the tax dollars required to cover the cost. It doesn't cover the full salaries but it helps offset a portion of the expense."
Robertson said the sheriff's office remains committed to maintaining the security needs in the schools.
"We work together with the school board and the other agencies to make sure it's safe environment for our students," he said.
According to Robert Farrell, school board president, security in schools is provided by two types of security personnel. School resource officers (SRO) are sworn law enforcement personnel actively employed by a local law enforcement agency. The school security employees (SSE) are typically retired law enforcement officers hired by the school board.
Farrell said his goal was to have a security officer in each of the county's 23 schools.
"Between our SROs and SSEs, we'll have one in every school," Farrell said.
The Allegany County Board of Education voted in June to increase funding for school security by $250,000 for fiscal 2024.
"Having an officer in every school to me was very, very important," Farrell said. "I know it was important to the other board members. We have that accomplished now which I think is a real plus. I've heard from staff members and teachers and administrators they are tickled about it. It gives them a sense of ease about things."
In addition to the sheriff's office, the security personnel typically come from the Cumberland Police Department, Frostburg Police Department, Frostburg State University Campus Police and the Maryland State Police.
"We've got it done and I think it's working very well," Farrell. said "I think the sheriff, Cumberland city and Frostburg and Anthony Rumgay, our security supervisor, they are all working great together."
In recent years, the agencies and school system have made an effort to increase salaries to attract qualified people to do the work.
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