CMPD chief suggests security screenings for all CMS schools

CMPD chief suggests security screenings for all CMS schools
(Source: WBTV/File)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) students could face security screenings before walking into school each day.

It's an idea endorsed by CMPD Chief Kerr Putney Thursday as CMS superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox prepares to ask for more funding for school security.

The chief says though he doesn't want to have metal detectors in schools, he believes it's a necessary measure for safety. He wants every person who walks into any CMS school to be screened.

"You're going to have to give up some level of freedom to get this right," Putney said at a town hall meeting Thursday night.

He said he wants all students, staff, and visitors who come into CMS schools to face metal detectors.

"It's not what I want to do," the chief said, "but I think it's the best way to make sure nobody gets a gun inside."

It's something neighboring Lancaster County put in place a few months ago with random checks at schools.

Related: Random searches in Lancaster schools keep students safe

But Chief Putney wants a security checkpoint in place all day – every day. Security expert Karl De La Guerra says it'll take major teamwork.

"It's got to be a buy-in across the board to make something like this truly effective," De La Guerra said.

De La Guerra's seen these detectors implemented in similarly-sized school systems. He says it'll take funding and personnel in place to prepare for any suspicious items.

"Where that person can be effectively handed off so you're not interrupting the flow," he explained.

In Lancaster County, where the screenings aren't daily, school officials say the checks take about two hours for 900 students. Wilcox recently told WBTV the school system is exploring several security changes.

"We are looking at security vestibules. We are looking at additional personnel. There is a whole package of things that we will be presenting shortly during the budget process," the superintendent said.

That budget presentation is scheduled for April.

The superintendent has said he plans to ask county commissioners for roughly $9.5 million for new school safety measures.

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