State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

State police upping presence in certain schools

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Sep 19, 2018 4:44 AM

State police will now be required to make more visits to schools. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- State troopers are about to be spending more time in some Pennsylvania schools.

New rules will require more frequent visits to schools in areas that don't have their own police departments, and so they rely on state police for coverage.

Under previous regulations, troopers were already expected to make school stops. The update is borne from Governor Tom Wolf's Safety Task Force.

State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said it'll create strict expectations when it comes to schools in areas without a police department.

Troopers will now send someone to do a check once per shift--or three times a day.

Tarkowski said the checks will vary, from exterior scans, to officers talking to students and teachers.

"That's not to say that state police won't swing by schools in areas that have their own police," he added. "But the once per shift mandates are for schools in areas where Pennsylvania State Police provide the primary coverage."

Pennsylvania has nearly 1,300 municipalities without their own police forces.

They tend to be home to smaller, rural schools--and Tarkowski said often, such districts don't have resource officers either.

"School resource officers are very expensive, and not something that a lot of districts can afford. So one of the ways that the Pennsylvania State Police can support school safety is to do something like this," he said.

No additional money for the state police is attached to the rule change.

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