The Havre de Grace City Council will vote on budgeting for police in city schools for the second time in two weeks.
A proposal to dedicate two additional police officers in Havre de Grace schools passed at the council's Jan. 7 meeting. It effectively doubled the city's school resource officer force, as there were two such officers in 2012 and there are four in 2013.
"My intention is to reassure our parents and strongly discourage any misguided attempt to garner publicity while recent events capture our nation’s attention," Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty wrote of increasing police presence, weeks after the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
"The matter has captured national attention, and the safety of children while at school is at the forefront of parental concern," Dougherty said in a memo dated Jan. 4.
To cover the $40,000 cost of two additional school resource officers through January and February, money was reallocated from the capital program and police overtime funds.
However, the budget measure the City Council passed Jan. 7 only accounted for the first two months of the year.
Since then, the mayor said he received "substantial feedback" that prompted him to write a second budget amendment, which would extend the terms of the two additional school resource officers through the current school year.
In his Jan. 14 proposal, the mayor requested using $63,200 in property taxes so the city could keep the two additional officers in schools from March to June. He noted the city yielded more in property taxes than was projected, an excess that would cover the cost.
"This additional funding will allow for a [school resource officer] to be situated at every city school through the end of this budget year," Dougherty said. The fiscal year ends in June, as does school.
He said that funding for subsequent school years would follow the regular budget process.
"Mayor Dougherty, I would like to THANK you and the entire city council for approving the additional funding for police presence in our schools," Cameron wrote. "I have children in Meadowvale, Middle and the High School....I have had the opportunity to meet all of the school resource officers (the ones on duty before 2013) and feel very blessed to have such great folks protecting our schools and children."