Armed officers begin patrol of Cherry Hill high schools

Annie McCormick Image
Monday, April 23, 2018
Armed officers begin patrol of Cherry Hill high schools
Armed officers begin patrol of Cherry Hill high schools. Annie McCormick reports during Action News at 4pm on April 23, 2018.

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- Students at Cherry Hill's high schools went to class with an added layer of security on Monday.

There are now armed guards on duty at the two high schools in the district.

In March the district placed Cherry Hill police officers at both schools, but now campus police are taking a greater role. The officers are armed and the force is growing.

"They are fully qualified. They have to go through the same training, police graduates, that kind of stuff," said Cherry Hill Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche

The officers are employed by the school district and carry the same weapon as officers with the Cherry Hill Police Department.

They also have arrest powers within their jurisdiction, which is considered on-campus.

Five additional officers will be hired by the fall.

"Never before in our history did we have a policy that allowed for the campus police officers to be armed," said Meloche.

But after the Valentine's Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Florida, many school districts revisited safety guidelines.

At Cherry Hill High School East, teacher Timothy Locked questioned the safety of the school. Those comments landed him in hot water and struck a nerve with students.

Students and parents took the microphone at school board meetings and even staged a walkout - some over questions about Locke's punishment, others about school safety.

The Cherry Hill police department officers there were posted in the high schools will now have a daily patrol at both high schools.

Cherry Hill police will also conduct walkthroughs at the elementary and middle schools.


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