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Police Visits to Moorestown Schools to Become the Norm

Moorestown police officers have started dropping by all the township schools in an effort to create a greater sense of security.

Moorestown Police are beginning to make their presence felt throughout all the township's schools by doing random pop-ins, in light of the heightened sensitivity to school security.

Police spokesman Lt. Lee Lieber said the department approached the schools in town—including the public schools, Moorestown Friends, Our Lady of Good Counsel and Kingsway Learning Center—shortly after the Newtown, CT, tragedy to offer to have officers stop in to the schools during their regular patrols.

The visits serve multiple purposes, Lieber explained. For one thing, they're peace of mind for the parents, students and staff, as well as a potential deterrent for anyone who might want to cause harm.

But the primary motivation is preparedness, he said.

The department wants its officers to meet the school staff and familiarize themselves with the layout of the buildings—maybe walk with an administrator or a maintenance employee—so they become part of the fabric of the school system, and in case of an incident, they know their way around, Lieber explained. 

"We don't have the manpower to put someone in every school," he said. "But we feel this is a good alternative."

The visits began last week. Ideally, the officers will stop by each school—with the exception of Moorestown High School and William Allen Middle School, which are served by the school resource officer—at least once or twice a week. 

The visits will be short and completely random, and will be built into the officer's regular patrol schedule, Lieber said. 

School Board President Don Mishler said the board of education welcomed the added police presence, saying, "It builds confidence with our staff and our children that the police are there. (And) it creates a more comfortable relationship between the police and the schools."

Another positive side effect is that it's instilled into the staff a renewed focus on school security, he said.

"Security is only as good as the people in our schools," said Mishler. "It's obvious to me, from conversations I've had with our staff, there is a heightened awareness in our schools—and that's a good thing."

Moorestown Friends School spokesman Mike Schlotterbeck said the school was also grateful for the increased police presence. 

"We have welcomed the police department to come in and get to know our community a little better," he said, "which I really think can only be a good thing."

Mishler said the district recently received the results of a security audit it commissioned in December. Though he intentionally avoided going into detail, he mentioned a few of the recommendations included in the audit, including: new lighting, additional security cameras and re-examining how the school building handle visitors. 

S.Russo February 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I think this a wonderful idea. As a parent, this makes me feel safer sending my children to school.
Quaker Made February 28, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Bout time. Our police are finally doing something to make our schools safer. Only took how many months after Sandy Hook?? Hey, at least something is being done. Kudos to you Lt. Lieber
Rob Scott (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Quaker Made, The police department has provided a school resource officer to the district for the last 12-13 years. And the department upped patrols around the schools almost immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting—which, by the way, only happened two months ago.
Quaker Made February 28, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Thanks for clarifying. I remember hearing about cops being around our schools in the days after the tragedy but haven’t seen or heard anything since. I am glad our cops and schools are ‘stepping it up”. This is a good thing. Since I have you online, why do you “quote” the school board president in all recent school related articles? His job and the board of education is only to establish policies and review the superintendent. That’s all! Don Mishler doesn’t run the schools! We pay a very nice salary to Superintendant Brain Betze so I would like to hear from him every once in a while instead of an elected, non paid board member. Thank you
Moorestown Lifer March 01, 2013 at 01:57 AM
I am very excited about the SRO we have in the HS and Middle School. (Brian does an excellent job with this program) More cops making their presence known in the other schools around town is outstanding! Quaker Made makes sense hearing this from the Super but don't think it will ever happen.
Our Town March 01, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Having two children in Moorestown schools, I am not happy with this plan and it doesn't make me feel any more secure. No offense to anyone in particular, but I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that every police officer is solely capable of dealing with a crisis in a clear and concise manner. Look at the off duty cop that got into an argument with his neighbor in Philadelphia and killed him. Look at the off duty Camden cop that just last week had someone yelling and beating on his door and made the choice of haphazardly shooting through the door instead of attempting to understand the situation on the other side before making a potentially life threatening choice. Not to lump them all together, but very recently one of our own was sentenced to a very lengthy prison sentence for very poor choices in judgment. There is no way to protect against every scenario but what I fear is the very real possibility of some situations being elevated beyond the schoolyard simply because someone now brings a gun to a fist fight. With that said, what I found infinitely more alarming was the letter that was sent out announcing this program. Rife with multiple grammar mistakes and incorrect word usage, under different circumstances I wouldn't be nearly as nit-picky, but coming from the superintendent of schools, one source whose grammar should always be above reproach, I was dumbfounded how this was even crafted let alone able to make it beyond any level of proof reading.

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