COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP — More police officers are roaming the hallways of schools in the Poconos.
It’s not only to stand guard in case of an emergency, but they’re also there just to say hello.
It’s not a common sight, to see police officers roaming the hallways of schools, just to “check in.” However, for the past week, officers with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department have been visiting with the students and teachers they protect.
“We want to make it routine so when they do see us, they don’t always think something bad is going to happen. That if they do see us out in the community, they would be more likely to talk to us,” said Chief Harry Lewis.
This is a new initiative created by Chief Lewis as a way to increase police presence in five of the Pocono Mountain Schools.
One of their stops is at Clear Run Elementary School near Mount Pocono.
Vanessa Stultz is a teacher at the school and a parent who said having the police stop by to visit with her daughter is wonderful.
“It’s nice to know that they’re putting in procedures to keep her safe and keep her friends safe and keep the teachers safe,” said Stultz.
Interacting with students is just one way the Pocono Mountain Regional police department is increasing its involvement in the school district. The officers are also helping to educate the educators by making them part of their active school shooter scenarios.
This training day took place at the nearby and closed Coolbaugh Learning Center. The school superintendent watched and learned what the police do and how administrators should be involved in case of an emergency like a school shooting.
“I think this is the missing link. Until you actually go through this process with your police department, I think it’s very difficult to understand how we would react in this situation. So to have this training and understanding to further educate our educators is where we need to be,” said Elizabeth Robison, Superintendent.
The officers run through all types of drills with one goal in mind.
“If we can improve what we’re doing here, it’s for the kids, and they’re totally worth it,” said Chief Lewis.