All Montgomery Co. high schools to be staffed with armed uniform - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

All Montgomery Co. high schools to be staffed with armed uniformed officers

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Starting next school year, there will be a uniformed and armed police officer at every Montgomery County high school.

The County Council approved a final budget last week that adds 10 new school resource officers, bringing the total number to 25.

It is an effort to increase safety, especially in the wake of recent school tragedies.

Now, after years of drawing down, Montgomery County Public Schools is beefing up its security force.

Michael Durso (5th District) is a school board member and has been pushing for the move.

"A properly trained officer who really is attuned to what is going on in the school can really be invaluable,” he says.

The school resource officers or SROs are Montgomery County police officers who have been formally interviewed and specially trained. That training is on various topics like an active shooter case, threat assessment and use of force.

But some critics say the additional officers lead to more arrests on campus for what they say amounts to minor disciplinary problems.

Durso doesn't disagree.

"They do not get involved in day-to-day discipline situations, so if a student is disruptive in a particular class, the school handles that,” he says.

Durso believes the benefits outweigh some of the concerns, especially if it means preventing a school tragedy.

The 10 new officers will cost the county about $467,000. The money will cover mostly salaries and benefits.

County officials are hoping to eventually expand the program to middle schools and perhaps beyond.

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