News and Messenger: (Amanda Stewart)
When students arrived at many area schools Monday and Tuesday, they may have noticed extra police officers at school.
Prince William County police officials planned to have extra officers at area schools throughout the week in response to Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“An increased presence of police will be in and around the county schools this week,” Prince William County police said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page. “Please do not be alarmed. The pain of last Friday’s events has reached across our nation. We simply want to reassure our children that they are safe in school and our community.”
In a letter to parents Monday, Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Steven L. Walts said he spent time planning with Acting Prince William County Chief of Police Barray Barnard over the weekend and said police would increase patrols in and around schools and bus stops this week “to provide reassurance to our school community.”
Dr. Walts and Acting Chief Barry Barnard should both be commended for stepping up a police presence to reassure our school community. Dumfries also did their own similar thing. One of the fears I heard parents mention was that of the copy cat crime. Who knows what that malevolent crime could have touched off in some other crazy. Just having a police present both reassures the community and sends a strong message to anyone eyeing our schools for nefarious deeds. Not on our watch.
Rumor has it that officers and detectives visited all the schools and spoke to the administration, letting them know that they were out there. There is an officer for almost every school, according to my school sources. The extra police presence will be out there until schools close for winter break.
Thanks again, PWC Police Department.