CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education has given final approval to a policy that will govern a new school security program.

Plans are to rotate plain clothes, armed security personnel in the county’s middle and elementary schools beginning next fall. The school board approved the hiring of five security officers in May who will be armed and in the schools. The policy was approved at last week’s meeting.

The county’s head of security, Keith Vititoe, answered questions raised by board members and parents over the new personnel as part of the meeting. Vititoe said the officers won’t be anonymous, it will be abundantly clear who they are and why they are in the building. However, he added their schedules will be deliberately unpredictable.

“I know there was a lot of discussion about anonymity, we’re just trying to keep folks from predicting where they are going to be. But, they all will certainly know who these personnel are,” Vititoe said.

He said the security personnel will wear typical attire for school staff and will have a typical security credentials as all employees are required to wear in the schools. Additionally they will wear a special badge which will be recognizable to law enforcement.

Since there are only five of them, they’ll have to move from school to school. Vititoe said that’s the part of their activity which needs to be kept under wraps.

“We’re trying to present the appearance we can cover all the buildings when we don’t have enough personnel to actually cover all the buildings. If we have that confidential rotating schedule it’s hard for ‘threat actors’ or people who plan to do us harm to plan properly,” he explained.

According to Vititoe, all mass casualty shootings historically have involved detailed planning, surveillance, and an understanding of the weak points of a school. Keeping the schedule of the security personnel unpredictable is part of the safety strategy.

Vititoe also assured members of the school board the job of the security personnel is solely safety of individuals inside the building from an outside threat. He stressed they would not in anyway be involved in student discipline activities.

Each of the security guards will be outfitted with a county issued cell phone with encryption technology to allow for communication between the county’s security center and those personnel in the field. It will also allow for a monitoring of the holder’s movements throughout the day. Those movements and all communication will be stored and archived for future reference.

Vititoe addressed all of the concerns and comments on the program offered by members of the board and the public. His answers seemed to satisfy those most concerned about the program.

“When we’re looking at policies involving officers who are armed or whatever I always have a lot more questions and concerns, but with Mr. Vititoe at the helm of this I’m more than confident,” BOE member Ric Cavendar.

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