Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pennsylvania State Police to Increase School Presence Throughout Commonwealth

With the goal of serving as a community resource and to support safe learning environments, Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick announced Tuesday that station commanders will ensure troopers visit schools and colleges located in their primary coverage areas on a consistent basis.

The support of and desire for school resource officers was a repeated outcome from the School Safety Task Force statewide meetings.

“A theme that resonated at all of the School Safety Task Force regional meetings was that students and faculty feel safer if there is a visible presence of a community safety resource at our schools,” Gov. Wolf said. “The Pennsylvania State Police will help support safer schools with enhanced trooper presence.”

A trooper will check in on educational facilities located in a PSP jurisdiction at least once per shift, and visit schools where PSP is not the primary law enforcement agency as time and resources allow.

“Schools and institutions of higher learning are part of the foundation of the commonwealth and protecting our students is of paramount importance,” said Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick. “The department has made it a priority to enhance our presence at schools to not only help us identify and address potential issues, but also to open the lines of communication.”

Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick stressed that the safety checks are a proactive security measure, not a response to any threat or incident. Troopers will visit at different times throughout the day and night, sometimes simply checking the exterior and parking areas, while other times going inside to interact with students and staff.

“Parents should not be alarmed if they see an increased state police presence at their child’s school or hear about a trooper making an appearance in the cafeteria at lunchtime,” Evanchick continued. “These visits are intended to be a positive experience between troopers, students, and educators.”

The safety checks will continue throughout the school year. Troop commanders continue to be in regular contact with school leadership in their respective coverage areas to address any specific concerns.