New Prince William County School Board chairman discusses pilot program to hire retired officers

- He has only been on the job for a week, but the Prince William County School Board chairman has plenty to say about the school district's plan to help keep students safe.

Last week, the school board approved $500,000 in funding for a pilot program to add retired law enforcement officers to the roster as armed security guards at campuses across the county. Prince William County Public Schools would be the first school district in Virginia to do this.

Dr. Babur Lateef was sworn in as the school board chairman last week. He is an eye surgeon by trade and the hope is he will bring a much needed fresh perspective to the school district.

Lateef has four children who currently attend Prince William County Public Schools. He said his message to parents is that students and employees' safety come first.

He also told FOX 5 that his top three goals are to improve students' level of achievement, safety and security, including tangible changes such as new doors, new lock systems and training for staff and students.

Lateef said the pilot program to hire retired law enforcement officers will focus on elementary schools.

“Part of the implementation is knowing how does it work, how to evaluate it and whether next year at this time we can say it was a success or not,” said Dr. Lateef. “Our goals are to make sure that this is done in a way where you don't notice they are around. That would be the ideal system.”

The funding for the pilot program has been approved and would staff five retired law enforcement officers and a supervisor. Now, the school district in partnership with the police department need to figure out the specific details of the program, such as the hiring process and where the officers would be assigned.

We also asked Lateef about metal detectors and he said those may not solve the problem of shooters on campus. The school district is reviewing security measures after recent school shootings nationwide.

Dr. Lateef also admits social media presents new challenges for the administration and he is urging students and staff to address concerns confidentially.

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