Police in D.C. region prepare for school threats

WASHINGTON – Across the D.C. region, police are working to head off potential threats like Monday’s shooting at a Baltimore County high school.

Police say a 15-year-old boy fired shots that injured one student on the first day of school Monday morning at Perry Hall High School. Teachers and a guidance counselor reportedly pinned the suspect against a vending machine.

“We have some heroic and brave faculty members,” Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance said. “They responded very quickly to minimize damage.”

In Fairfax County, police spent two weeks training before returning to schools where they serve as resource officers. Police spokesman Don Gotthardt says officers train to deal with an active shooter.

The exercises include “training the officers to identify suspicious activity and problematic activity in school that may lead to something bigger,” Gotthardt says.

In Montgomery County, school resource officers were once assigned to each high school, but that number was cut back. Now, six officers are active – one serving the high schools in each of the county’s police districts.

Sgt. Suzanne Harrell with the county’s police department says officers still are connected to the school communities.

“It’s a tremendous value to us because then we can be more proactive rather than reactive,” Harrell says.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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