MCPS Administrators, Police Participate in Joint School Safety Training

Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) administrators and police partners participated in a joint school safety training at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda on Monday.

The training focused on the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between MCPS and the Montgomery County Police Department, the Community Engagement Officer (CEO) 2.0 program, and law enforcement response to school-based incidents.

In August 2021, MCPS transitioned from a School Resource Officer program to CEOs assigned to school clusters. These officers were stationed in surrounding neighborhoods outside of the school.

A rise in incidents of violence prompted officials to update the program to a CEO 2.0 model. The updated model that went into effect in April allows CEOs to have private office spaces at each of the 26 MCPS high schools, but are not to be permanently stationed there, the MOU reads.

The new plan includes a lot of flexibility and opportunities for school administration to take the lead on certain incidents– providing learning experiences for students.

For instance, under the new CEO 2.0 program, Chief Marcus Jones said possession of marijuana will no longer be a mandatory arrest. MCPS will be able to handle this specific incident through a disciplinary process.

However, Jones said if a student is selling illegal drugs such as fentanyl or other dangerous types of drugs– that may lead to a felony arrest.

According to officials, the only situations where a student should be potentially leaving school property in handcuffs is when a violent felony has been committed.

MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight said the partnership with police is only one part of a bigger puzzle.

“In MCPS we have programs and curriculum that supports good citizenship. We have mental health and wellness support,” Mcknight added. “When discipline must be considered, we also use restorative justice.”

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