AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - The Austintown Local School District is one of just two districts in the state of Ohio to get federal money to add school resource officers, which will expand its already strong security system.
Since the 1970s, one Austintown police officer has been stationed at Austintown Fitch High School. Just this year, the district added security officers at the front door of every building, along with a new system for admitting visitors.
That system requires a driver's license for identification and then prints a custom pass with the visitor's photo.
The superintendent said having officers in the building is great for students because it creates a relationship that will last for years to come.
"Our students aren't fearful of officers. They don't think that an officer is going to be a bad person, coming to get them and putting them in jail. They know they're there to help them and that's very important," said Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca.
The six new school resource officers should start by the end of the year, which will bring the total number of officers on campus to 10. Their salaries for three years will be paid by a $250,000 federal grant from the US Department of Justice.
The four buildings on the Austintown Local School campus have more than 5,400 students and 800 staff.
With that many people, the superintendent said safety has to be a priority.
"So it is basically a mini city that we're running and we feel like we're providing high quality safety and security for our staff," Colaluca said.
As part of the district's new security plan, officials have:
- Reviewed district bullying policies.
- Revamped the district radio communication system.
- Added a visitor screening system called Raptor at all of our buildings.
- Placed Austintown police officers in all of its buildings.
- Redesigned entryways to ensure that visitors have to be buzzed into the buildings.
- Completely overhauled its district safety plan using the Ohio Attorney General's template released in June.
- Provided staff development on active shooter scenarios and responses.
- Drafted new communication protocols.
- Created and distributed emergency crisis action cards to all teachers.
- Currently is working with architects to layout appropriate floor plans for all buildings in alignment to the legend issued by the Attorney General.
A weak disturbance moving into the area will trigger some afternoon snow showers Wednesday. Accumulations will be light. Look for a few flurries around Wednesday night through Thursday morning.
Scofflaws who run red lights in Pittsburgh will soon run the risk of being caught on camera.
A teenager has been charged in connection to an armed robbery and shooting outside of a beverage store in Warren.
One person was killed after crashing into a light pole in Youngstown.
A Boardman firefighter was treated for an injured ankle after battling a house fire Tuesday night.
UPDATE: Police have arrested a teenager in connection to a Sunday night shooting at a Warren convenience store that injured another teen.
Firefighters in Youngstown worked to control a vacant house fire early Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, 37 kids celebrated Christmas a little bit early thanks to the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office and its Shop with a Cop program.
A long-time Liberty Township eyesore went up in flames and smoke Tuesday afternoon.
The FBI is now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a Youngstown murder suspect.
Fellows Riverside Gardens at Mill Creek Park is all ready for Christmas.
A Columbiana church is helping people make it through the holidays after losing a loved one.
Seventeen years after she died, the daughters of a Youngstown woman say knowing their mother has finally been identified is just a step in the process.
Sister Jerome's Kids offers help to college students from low-income families, with the aspiration of making sure they finish their post-secondary education.
Local auto workers are making the sure the holidays are memorable for more than 100 children.
Testimony continued Tuesday in the trial for the first of four alleged accomplices in a deadly home invasion in Niles.