Los Angeles police officer Sgt. Frank Preciado, left, with officer Wendy Reyes, right, watch over children arriving at the Main Street Elementary School after winter break on Monday. L.A. schools reopened after winter break with tighter security in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The nation's second-largest school dis(Photo: Nick Ut/AP)
Los Angeles police on Monday began patrolling each of the city's 600
public elementary and middle schools in a beefed-up security plan rolled
out after the shooting spree last month in Connecticut that left 20
students and six staff members dead.
The plan calls for
officers to spend a half hour everyday at each school on a random time
schedule to meet with school members, and possibly teachers and parents.
The move was not in response to any specific threat but was a precautionary measure, KCBS-TV reported.
stepped-up presence by LAPD officers is one of the latest such moves
taking place in several states, including Alabama, Rhode Island, New
York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the wake of the Dec. 14 killings in
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who
announced the plan two days after the Dec. 14 killings in Newtown,
Conn., said officers and detectives will be assigned or will "adopt" a
school and make beat checks part of their routine patrols.
"We won't be there all the time, but nobody will know when we will be there," Beck said.
The Los Angeles Daily News notes
that members of the Los Angeles United School District's 350-person
police force are already stationed at the district's 100-plus high
schools. Private schools that request patrols will also be included.
Beck told the Los Angeles Times that the Sandy Hook shootings had forced him to "recalibrate" his department "to this new reality."
barrier has been broken in our culture, and that barrier is the safety
of our youngest residents," Beck said. "It's all of our jobs to make
sure that we resurrect that barrier and that our children are safe."
In Upper Merion, Pa., police began foot patrols inside the township's schools last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
main goal is to make these schools a less-appealing target because any
potential actors will be aware that the police are often at the school
and may arrive at any moment," Police Chief Tom Nolan said, the
Police were also given key cards to allow access to school property, the paper said.
Police presence was also increased at North Wales, Pa., The Times Herald reported.
Marlboro Township in central New Jersey's Monmouth County, armed guards
were on duty last week to check every child, teacher and visitor
arriving at the district's eight schools, Reuters reported.
Totowa School District, in New Jersey's Passaic County, also began
using armed police officers in its two elementary schools.
In addition, WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I., reported that a uniformed police officer will be on hand at all of the elementary schools in Crantson, R.I.
New York state, police will patrol the entire Mamaroneck school
district for the entire week, as officials meet Tuesday night to
consider additional security measures after an armed man entered
Hommocks Middle School last week, The Journal News/Lohud.com reported.
board will consider an emergency resolution to install entrance
equipment and monitoring systems at the middle school and elementary
schools," district spokeswoman Debbie Manetta told the newspaper.
Vestavia, Ala., nine officers have assigned to make sure that at least
one officer is on hand at all times in the community's elementary,
middle school and two high schools, AL.com reported.