Howard County Police to Increase Patrols Near Schools After Connecticut Shooting

Police recently concluded an in-service training of their "active shooter plan."


Howard County Police said Friday afternoon they would be increasing patrols around schools next week after an elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

A gunman allegedly killed 27 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, according to Newtown Patch. The gunman was reportedly found dead inside the school.

Howard County police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said the department recently concluded in-service training to review the department's "active shooter plan" with its members.

"We also conduct drills to simulate mass shooting incidents," wrote Lllewelyn in an email. "The procedure has police working closely with the school system, which has systems in place to reach out to parents quickly."

Llewellyn said Police Chief William McMahon spoke with the head of security for the school system Friday after the tragedy in Connecticut to discuss safety in county schools.

Police currently post 13 officers in high schools as school resource officers, three in the middle schools (which travel among schools) and there are also two school resource officer supervisors. Officers are not placed in elementary schools in the county.

See related coverage:

  • Anne Arundel Police Heighten School Security After Connecticut Shooting
  • County Police Patrolling Schools Without Resource Officers After Connecticut Shooting
  • Patch Exclusive: 'It Wasn't Me' Man Named as Shooter Writes
Karen December 14, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Thank you Howard County Police , they have been amazing in a recent situation of mine , and I feel my children are safe.
Carolynn December 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM
What a heart breaking day. May all of our prayers go out to those effected by this horrific tragedy. God Speed & God Bless.
Mr. Drew December 15, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Having the police show up at local schools is a bad idea and it sends the wrong message. School shootings are very, very rare, and there is almost no chance it is going to happen here. The right thing to do is to tell the children not to worry, it's not going to happen here. When you put the police out front you tell the children it could happen here and we are scared about it. It's time to stop overreacting to extremely uncommon events, tragic though they are.
Colliemom December 15, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Mr. Drew - When you put the police out front, you are telling the children we understand you are worried, we care about you and we will act to keep you safe. Seems a far better response than "don't worry about it". We have to worry about it; "almost no chance" won't keep them safe. It is sad that people can be so evil to target innocent children - but the evil is out there and so are copycats. We can't keep them safe, and we know it; but we can reassure them that we care and will do our best.
Mr. Drew December 15, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Our children are as safe tomorrow as they were yesterday. When you make a show of protecting the children, you are making a clear statement there is something to be protected from. The fact that a crazy person commits atrocities once in awhile is not something worth worrying about because the odds of it affecting you are miniscule.
JaySmith December 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Leave it to our govt, in this case the Police Dept, to come up with more bad ideas. Maybe I should just say 'useless' ideas......to make us feel they're worth paying all our tax dollars to. "Patrolling" schools would help nothing. Police don't stop crimes. They show up and ask some questions afterwards. The only way to stop shootings at schools would be to have locked front door (no side doors) with an armed private security guard, checking i.d's and metal detectors OUTSIDE, etc, etc. See what I mean? It's almost unworkable to prevent these atrocities. Wherever crowds gather, there is the chance of mass murder. That's a fact, always has been. Car crashes kill 40,000/year. Maybe there are ways to save 1/2 those deaths. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. If politicians were that concerned with 40,000 deaths/year, they could think of what I just thought, thinking for 10 seconds.
Merette J. Bassler December 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM
This time of year the Mentally Ill Unstable persons can have an episode. What needs to be done if a Family member has a mental problem.No matter families know something is wrong w/individual have to take the responsibility to go to the Court talk to the judge to have this person taken to a Hospital via Police for evaluation to protect themselves and other people. Many times families do not know what to do that is what you do think of the family member not yourself. To get the Mentally ill person to see a Psych/Psychologist will not happen they feel they're is nothing wrong w/them. If the Mental Ill person becomes Psychotic w/families hitting then the Police has to be called 911..
Greg G. December 15, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Mr. Drew, I take it you dont have children. A child needs different reassurances than an adult. This will only be temporary as will their need to feel safe again. My father used to say I have failed as a police officer when he caught a criminal as his job was to prevent crime, not catch the criminal. So while my wife and I sat in our living room with tears in our eyes trying to explain to our little girl what happened and that she doesnt need to worry, this will help until she can absorb the atrocity of what happened.
stephen feldman December 15, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Howard County already has armed officers in high schools. Whether that needs to be extended to all schools is worthy of debate, without hysteria about children being scared of armed officers. In this world, chlldren in every nation, unfortunately, are subject to violence in many forms. Having patrols 'around' schools seems ineffective, particularly where one assailant can often legally gain entrance thru the one or two doors schools always have open, even after buses have left. While allowing staff to have access to firearms in schools may seem extreme, and should never be allowed without a conscious policy and debate, with training, nothing should be off the table. Even if semi automatic weapons sales were banned today, and the ban were largely effective, millions of weapons are in our communities. No one is going door to door to confiscate them. So until we lock up many more agiltated, depressed, lonely, autistic or other people with so-called disorders, simply for their condition, an unlikely prospect, the few mentally ill who are violent exist. They will try again. The horror of Newtown or the legacy of Columbine will not deter or horrify them; perhaps the opposite? We need an open, calm debate about how to deal with armed attacks on schools.
Karen December 15, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I agree with you Mr Drew. My daughter was so scared yesterday and I re-assured her this is a very rare thing and that she should rather be more concerned about how we get a chimney into our home before Santa arrives :) On a more serious note though , it was sad to see my 8yr old crying heartfelt tears for the people that lost their lives yesterday.
lori therwanger December 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I think we should worry. I think we have to do something. I feel people and children would feel safer. Tragic situation can happen anywhere at any time. This is a different world and people need to be safe. We should all be scared, scared enough to do whatever we can to prevent danger from happening. When I see a police car I feel safer no matter where I see them. They are our protectors. No one should worry about what people might think or children as I see it they will feel safe. We need this.
lori therwanger December 15, 2012 at 08:31 PM
lori therwanger December 15, 2012 at 08:37 PM
This to me is not a useless idea. Everything that should be done should be done to protect children. Noone ever thought in Newton that something would happen in their town. Look what happened. Every thing you said about metal dectectors, security guards is an excellent idea. Police could only add to keeping things safe. If I had children after these horrid events in schools I would seriously consider home schooling. We need to protest the government until they do more. If not we should volunteer to help with security.
Mr. Drew December 15, 2012 at 11:21 PM
I have a son in first grade at Elkridge Elementary.
Mr. Drew December 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM
There are 98,817 public schools in the United States. (Google "number of schools in America gets you infoplease.com, with the stat from the National Center for Education Statistics) There have been 12 school massacres in the last 20 years in the United States. (Wikipedia "List of rampage killers: School massacres") This means that any given school could expect to have a massacre once every 98817*(12/20) = 165,000 years. So those of you saying "We must do something!" and "Protect at all costs!", when you figure out what you want to do, figure out what that will cost and ask yourself "Could this money be spent on something better than having a massacre occur at my school less often than once every 165,000 years?"
Mr. Mail man December 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM
While your math is correct. Your logic is not. If there have been 12 massacres across 98xxx schools then the chance of a massacre in any year is about .01%. Are you willing to take that chance?? I am not.
Mr. Drew December 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I did make a mistake, actually. Of the 12 shootings in the list of massacres, 3 were at colleges or universities. So the right number is any given school could expect a massacre once every 220,000 years. Expressed as a percentage, that would be a .00045% chance of a massacre at a given school in a given year.
Shawn December 16, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Mr. Drew common scene is always overridden by fearmongering. Yes a terrible horrific tragedy has taken place. However what concerns me is how this sadistic incident will be exploited to take even more Liberties away from the American people.
Greg G. December 17, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Mr. Drew the incidents are not decreasing, but increasing. And I have a daughter at EES and not willing to take any chances. This infringing on our liberties is a load of crap. Since when did we need extended clips and assault weapons? If you cant defend your home with a simple 5 pump then extra bullets are not the answer. The shooter would not have been able to do so much damage if assault type weapons and extra feed clips had not been available as they were banned up until 2004 anyway. If anything Obama has been more lax on gun control. I have grown up in a gun environment as my father taught swat and later worked on the anti-terrorism detail for interpol. There is absolutely no logical reason to have the fire power that is now available to the public. And if it makes a couple people breath easier with the police patrolling the schools then so be it. Whose to say some whacko copy cat isnt ready for tommorrow?
Mr. Drew December 17, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Greg, please cite evidence that the incidents are increasing. There is a list of school massacres on Wikipedia. There were 6 in the last 10 years. There were six in the previous ten years. (In the US.) That looks like a very low, constant rate at which these things happen. My son is unaware of the school shooting. I see no reason for me to have to explain what the police in front of his school are for, when he is in no danger. I support gun control, and I always have, so you are arguing with the wrong guy there.
Kathleen Newberry December 17, 2012 at 01:47 PM
As a secretary in a Howard County public elementary school, I can assure you that gun control laws would NOT have prevented this tragedy. However, if staff were allowed to have guns, there may have been fewer victims. This is not a gun problem, but a mental health problem.
Shawn December 17, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Kathleen you are correct. If school staff were allowed to carry and properly trained in handgun safety this horrible atrocity may have never happened period. That said gun control is proven to be ineffective at protecting anyone, and has been effective at actually escalating crime. How about banning Psychotropic drugs as every one of the past mass shooters have been on one or more prescriptions of a Psychotropic drug. Yet strangely enough these facts are not disclosed in the state run mass media.
Shawn December 17, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Greg, obviously you are not a shooting sports guy. "Assault rifles" are fun to shoot, and are used in sanctioned and non sanctioned competitions. (think of it like golfing with guns) The past few mass murders have exemplified the fact that the weapons used to commit the murders were "legally acquired guns". However nothing was mentioned that the murderers were actively taking prescription Psychotropic drugs. If it truly is safety that makes you believe gun control is the way to go then the absolute ban on Psychotropic drugs would actually be effective.
Shawn December 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM
'Society is to blame, not the guns" Well said and very true Dave. The government is not interested in the people's safety. This is painfully obvious with the fact the Psychotropic drug connection with the recent mass murders has not been mentioned let alone investigated. The government is only interested in gaining more control over the people. Trading Liberty for a false scene of security only promotes oppression.
Dave A. December 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
As sad as this event is it was brought on by ourselves. The main problem is the role of the family! When I was a kid we did not have things like XBox, WII, no internet, no cell phones....Parents taught us right from wrong, and it was reinforced at school. We got spankings when we made a bad choice! Guns were in almost every home, yet we never heard of such horrible news. Why? BECAUSE IT DID NOT OCCUR! NO it was not 50 years ago! We have evolved into this society of convenience and this has caused us to work more and spend less time with our families. Lacking role models begin this turn to the dark side. Unsupervised children begin to weave dilusional dreams as teenagers. All of these murderous escapades had one thing in common. They all spoke out before the action and NOBODY reported it or took any type of action! FAILURE! As a society there is another thing we can do about these situations. They don't require a single law change! Take charge of your children and family. Teach them right from wrong and enforce it, and most importantly take responsibility! Stop blaming issues like this on other causes and deal with the root of the problem! If only our Government Officials would do this and stop pointing the finger! We would not be such a violent society, we would be financially sound, and it would be a healthier environment for the american family!
Shawn December 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Dave I concur that society as a whole and more over the lack of family values is to blame for the trend towards violence. That said the fix is within each one of us, however that takes effort and the majority thinks that they are too overwhelmed to have the necessary time to apply that effort and find it much easier to place blame somewhere else. Thus the never ending spiral into societal calamity continues exponentially. On the same train of thought (not wanting to apply the effort) it is much easier to allow the government to come up with a fix. The government is more than willing to take even more Liberties away from the people for a false sense of security that actually compounds the problems at hand. Until we the people wake up and realize that a Free USA Republic requires effort to keep the government (our servants), and our families in control we as a nation are doomed.
Dave A. December 17, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Shawn I am in 100 % agreement with you!


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