Police Chief Jones Seeks to Continue Engaging with Students in Schools

photo of school resource officer shaking hands with student

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones believes his officers need to engage with students to prevent crime and tragedy and is working with school officials to make that happen.

During the previous school year, Student Resource Officers were stationed inside schools. This year, Community Engagement Officers are assigned to a cluster of nearby schools and respond to incidents when requested by Montgomery County Public School staff. With increased incidents of fighting, including one Magruder High School student shooting another in the school’s bathrooms, Jones hopes to fine tune the current plan to make it more responsive and appreciated by all involved.

“It’s an opportunity for us to kind of look at some revamping of some of the revisions we have made,” Jones told MyMCM.

“The way I look at it, we are providing a service to the school system, providing safety for the school system,” he said, adding that police in the schools is about prevention much more than enforcement. “Enforcement is one of your last resorts.”

During Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council meeting, members unanimously approved extending by several months the time needed to work out a school resource officers program. The deadline was Aug. 2 but now is Dec. 31. It was to have expired Aug. 2. The vote was taken without discussion.

From August through December of 2021, county police officers were called to schools 1,688 times. That includes assistance with problem students as well as attendance at sporting events. Of those incidents, 563 resulted in a report being made, of which 10% involved weapons and slightly more involved drugs. Eleven arrests were made. Five for weapon offenses, one for armed robbery and two for making threats to the safety and security of schools and students.

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