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AASD to review security staffing

Board member questions if district’s police response, coverage sufficient

The Altoona Area School District will evaluate its security staffing after concerns were raised Monday about the district’s police response and coverage.

During the school board meeting, board member Rick Hoover questioned whether the number of security guards and police officers in the district were adequate to handle an emergency situation.

The district currently has five police officers, six greeters and two security guards across the district’s 13 buildings, said Superintendent Charles Prijatelj. Students attend classes at 11 of those buildings, he said.

Hoover raised doubts about the district’s current security, citing concerns of understaffing if an incident did happen.

“Our staff is doing a great job, but I wonder if our numbers are sufficient,” Hoover said.

One of the top concerns for Hoover revolved around outlier elementary schools such as Juniata Gap and Ebner.

Hoover questioned the response time for the district’s interdepartmental police, but due to security concerns, district officials did not disclose an estimated response time.

“We have staff assigned across the district,” Prijatelj said. “There are people assigned specific to the elementary, and there are people assigned to the district buildings.”

Hoover said he researched other school districts comparable to Altoona’s size, and he claimed other districts have a much larger security staff.

While he acknowledged that the district receives coverage from the Altoona Police Department, Logan Township Police Department and state police, Hoover said he believes more personnel are needed within the district.

Hoover asked the district to consider additional funding for security officers and suggested district officials look into grants.

“It makes sense to ensure that all of our schools are covered,” Hoover said. “I know we have outside police departments, but I’m just looking interdepartmental to see if we can get any more staff locally.”

Prijatelj said after the meeting that Hoover’s concerns were noted and the district will evaluate its security staffing.

Mirror Staff Writer Calem Illig is at 814-946-7535.

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