PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (Jan. 13, 2010)—Calvert County Public Schools recently signed formal agreements with the Maryland State Police and the Calvert County Sheriffs Office to continue the School Liaison Officer program in the public schools and to add a second Sheriffs Deputy to program. There are now three School Liaison Officers one from the Maryland State Police and two from the Sheriffs Office.
Lieutenant Randy Stephens of the Maryland State Police said, The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding will build upon the strong foundation that has already been laid to support the positive relationship between the police, the schools, and the children in our community.
The School Liaison Officer program began in 1982 and is designed to support positive relationships among law enforcement, schools, and the community three areas where services to students and families take place.
And as the school system grew, so did the School Liaison Officer Program. Originally staffed by one Maryland State Trooper, a Sheriffs Deputy was added in 2004 with a second Deputy added in January, 2010.
Stephens said School Liaison Officer Sergeant Larry Titus has worked in this role for that last 21 years to ensure the safety and future success of the children he served.
It has been very rewarding as a law enforcement officer to see the immediate benefits of my labor throughout the many years of working with hundreds of families from the county during their times of need, said Titus.
According to Mike Evans, Calvert County Sheriff, the new deputy, Vaughn Jay Johnson, was carefully selected by school system and Sheriffs Office staff. The addition of another deputy in our high schools improves their security, said Evans. The ultimate goal is to build relationships with students, families, and the school staff.
Kim Roof, Director of Student Services for the public schools, said when liaison officers form bonds and relationships with students and families, problems can be prevented.
The liaison officers stay current on issues facing students in both the school and community. When problems do arise, the liaison officers serve as a resource to school officials to help resolve the issues in ways which support the student, family, and school.
Although years of experience have allowed me to have a firm understanding of legal issues as they relate to our students, the ability to access information from our liaison officers gives me another reliable resource when it comes to creating a safe and orderly school environment, said George Miller, principal of Northern High School in Owings.
Nancy Highsmith, principal of Patuxent High School in Lusby, agrees with Miller. She said the knowledge the liaison officers gain through their relationships with students helps build respect. This, in turn, enables the officers to work hand-in-hand with the school administration when behavior issues arise. She said it is helpful to have School Liaison Officer Deputy Glenn Libby available as they jointly explain to students and parents what to expect from both the school and law enforcement.
Roof emphasized the importance of the School Liaison Officer program. Calvert County is still a relatively small community with a small school system, she said, so it is easy for school administrators and law enforcement officials to work together to be proactive rather than just reactive.
Source: Issued Jointly by the Calvert County Public Schools, the Calvert County Sheriff's Office, and the Prince Frederick Barrack of the Maryland State Police