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Police Chief Barry Barnard: Community memo on PW Police Dept. & school safety concerns

Dear Prince William County Community,

As the Nation continues to heal from the violence in Parkland, Florida last week, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. 

In this regard, I want to take this opportunity to address our community here in Prince William County about safety in our schools. I want to assure everyone that the safety of our schools, schoolchildren, and school staff is a responsibility that your Police Department takes very seriously. We have no greater calling.
The Police Department has an outstanding partnership with the Prince William County Schools. We work together every day to foster a safe and secure environment in our schools. This strong and collaborative relationship helps to identify threats and deter violence.
Currently, we have School Resource Officers actively present in the County’s middle and high schools, as well as, patrol officers who frequently visit our elementary schools.

Last week, following the tragic events in Florida, our officers increased their presence at our schools. This presence is intended to provide a sense of reassurance to our school community. We understand our community not only wants to be safe but feel safe. We want to ensure our schools know we are here without interfering with a student’s ability to learn.  We want students to enjoy their school years.

When violence strikes at any school in our Nation, we feel the suffering of those involved and this places a heavy burden on all of our hearts. We hold our children a little tighter and worry a little more when they are not with us. We look for ways to make our schools and communities even safer in hopes of preventing future violence.

Your Police Department is continuing to review and assess how we can improve our strategies regarding school safety. We will continue to work diligently to protect our schoolchildren, educators and staff and work with all stakeholders to enhance the safety at our schools.
Our community can only be safe if we work together. Together, we will make a difference.

Barry M. Barnard
Chief of Police

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