Cumberland Times-News

July 5, 2013

Sheriff: Security report to be released on Monday

Issue a source of contention between BOE and county

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — The long-awaited school security plan prepared by a committee put together by Sheriff Craig Robertson will be released Monday.

The sheriff said he will release the written report and discuss it Monday at county offices on Kelly Road at 2 p.m.

School security issues have been a source of contention between the Allegany County Board of Education and county commissioners.

Commissioner Bill Valentine said this week that he’s looking forward to the release of the plan and that, if the sheriff’s method will benefit the kids, who is paying for it and which government body is the conduit for funding should not matter.

Commissioners rejected a request earlier this year from the board of education for $480,000 to fund a school security plan, instead opting tentatively to give $190,000 to the sheriff to implement a plan.

The board plan would have involved hiring off-duty state troopers to provide school security.

Board of education member Mike Llewellyn has said it’s essential to have a security plan in place by the time Allegany County schools reopen in August.

Valentine said he hopes members of the education board will give a fair hearing to the sheriff’s plan.

Robertson, along with Lt. Randy Cutter, visited Newtown, Conn., recently  to discuss school security measures.

Newtown was the site of one of the worst school shooting incidents in U.S. history in December when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Discussions between commissioners and the board have centered on the disagreement about who is responsible for school security.

Commission President Michael McKay has said any security funding should “follow” the chief elected law enforcement officer of the county, Robertson.

Board members said they had no issues working with law enforcement, but that they are ultimately responsible for security in the schools.

Board of education members said they are required by law to have a security plan for each school, making it clear that they are responsible for school security.