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Palm Beach County Schools to Beef Up Number of Police Aides

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent says the county will add about 30 school police aides to increase security at schools.

As it stands, the district will spend about $400,000 to do so.

See also:
Palm Beach Mayors Call for Metal Detectors in Schools

The district will also wrap up a security review of each school in coming weeks, and figure that bigger expenses are the horizon to for security improvements, according to Chief Operating Officer Mike Burke.

Principals throughout the district's 185 schools have been reviewing security measures with their respective staffs and taking small actions in some cases, such as mending broken fences and adding security cameras.

As for the incoming police aides, Gent would not say which schools would be getting them but hinted that it would likely be Palm Beach middle and high schools.

Police aides do not carry guns, but are used more as eyes and ears to help keep a lookout at schools. They generally patrol a school's perimeter and entrances and exits. They use walkie-talkies to communicate with school officials throughout the day.

Currently, the district has 14 police aides at its schools.

Gent has been meeting with groups within the community, such as the Palm Beach County Association of Chiefs of Police and the Palm Beach County League of Cities, about boosting school safety.

The district has been stressing that most schools are safe since they have a single point of entry for visitors. A group of mayors also called for metal detectors to be installed in schools.

The School Board announced that it will have a workshop on February 12 to begin developing next year's budget, including a budget for school security and safety, which will likely dominate the workshop.

Burke says the district is looking for more funds for school security at both the state and federal levels.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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