Metal Detecting Wands See Light Duty In County Schools

Nearly six dozen metal detecting wands bought in October have been used just three times.

Metal detecting wands purchased after a school shooting in Perry Hall have been used just three times since October and have not caught any students carrying weapons in Baltimore County public schools.

County police used the wands in searches of students at Kenwood High, Sparrows Point High and the Western School of Technology since the purchase and implementation of the equipment in October.

No weapons were recovered in any of the searches, according to Elise Armacost, a police department spokeswoman.

"We don't have a lot of weapons in Baltimore County schools," Armacost said. "It's not surprising that we didn't recover any."

County police were issued the wands in October. Officers use them only in the case of a suspicious circumstance, according to Armacost.

"We're not making it a matter of policy in Baltimore County schools to wand students without reasonable suspicion," Armacost said.

Armacost said the wands were never meant as a guarantee that no weapons will ever come into county schools.

"We were extremely clear from the beginning of the program that the wands would not be used to scan every student as a condition of entering the school building," Armacost said, adding that keeping weapons out of school "is a much more complex issue."

"The wands are simply another tool for the officers to use," she said.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz Tuesday announced the county plans to spend nearly $3.8 million for security cameras and improved security at school entrances.

The county and issued them to the 63 school resource officers who are assigned to 21 middle schools and 25 high schools in the county. The equipment was bought after a shooting incident at Perry Hall High School that injured Daniel Borowy, a student at the school.

Robert W. Gladden, Jr. is charged as an adult and is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center awaiting trial. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday to determine if Gladden's trial will be moved to juvenile court.

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