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Prince William County officials discuss school safety at town hall

Written by: What’s Up Prince William

Keeping students safe is a high priority for Prince William County officials.

Earlier this month, community members learned about some steps that are being taken.

Supervisor John Jenkins hosted a School Safety Town Hall at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge.

“I want to re-emphasize that keeping our students safe is our number one priority, and it is going to take the help of our entire community to make sure that happens,” Jenkins said.

Representatives from the Prince William County Police Department (PWCPD) and Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) spoke at the meeting.

Sergeant Sarah Rolle talked about a active violence training that is run by the police department.

The training seeks to prepare community members in case an active shooter event occurs.

“We want to get as many people trained as possible in order to get that information and that education out there,” Rolle said.

PWCPD Chief Barry Barnard discussed the police department’s resources.

School Resource Officers (SRO) are stationed at middle and high schools throughout the county, according to Barnard.

Officer A.J. Wrighten, who has been an SRO for six years, spoke about his day-to-day responsibilities, which include investigating crimes and working with students.

“You begin to develop these relationships with students where you’re a trusted adult in that building for that student,” Wrighten said.

Personnel from the police department pay thousands of visits to the elementary schools each year, as well.

Barnard also explained how the police handle threats.

“A threat is a threat, until it’s not. That’s our attitude, that’s how we address it,” he said. “Meaning, it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the threat may be. We address all threats.”