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Board Hires School Police Officers

Mars Area School Board voted 7-0 in favor of hiring three (3) full-time and two (2) substitute school police officers, who along with two (2) Adams Township police officers, will make up Mars Area School District School Police Force.

Board members Rita Dorsch and Bonnie Weaver were absent.

In May, the Board approved a one-year agreement between the District and Adams Township for the creation of a hybrid school police force, which will consist of two (2) Adams Township police officers, who would be employed by the township, but permanently assigned (during the school year), and three (3) additional “school police officers.” In June, the District received approval from Butler County Court of Common Pleas to establish a school police force, as permitted under Act 44 of 2018.

The District was excited to receive several “really strong” applicants, said Dr. Wesley Shipley, superintendent, noting that all of those who were hired are retired state police officers. Officers include:

  • Daniel G. Herr, who will serve as a full-time school police officer, advanced to the rank of sergeant at the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Integrity & Professional Standards; sergeant at Pennsylvania State Police Troop A (Greensburg); and corporal in the Pennsylvania State Police Troop D (Butler) Crime Unit and Patrol Unit. He also previously served as school police officer at South Butler School District and as a security guard at Protector Security.

  • Robert Lagoon, a full-time school police officer, advanced to the rank of master trooper at the Pennsylvania State Police, where he served as a patrolman, criminal investigator, community service officer, public information officer and more. He was also previously a school police officer at North Hills School District.

  • Theodore Hunt, a full-time school police officer, was a trooper first class with the Pennsylvania State Police with more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement. He is a retired Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (master sergeant) with the U.S. Air Force Reserves and has also served as a Police Officer II at UPMC Pittsburgh.

  • Gerald K. Markle, a substitute school police officer, served as a trooper in the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation (Pittsburgh), Troop D (Butler) Criminal Investigation Unit, Troop D (Kittanning), and Troop E (Franklin). He was also a school police officer at Butler Area School District; vice president of The Advanced Investigations Group LLC (Butler, Pa.); and a retail sales merchandiser at Quaker Tropicana Gatorade.

  • Peter J. Vogel, a substitute school police officer, rose to the rank of lieutenant at Pennsylvania State Police Troop D (Butler); station commander and lieutenant at Pennsylvania State Police Troop D (New Castle); sergeant at Pennsylvania State Police Troop B (Pittsburgh); and sergeant in the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Professional Responsibility (Harrisburg). He also previously served as a school police officer at Butler Area School District; a private security officer at Safe Environmental Business Solutions Inc.; a part-time armored truck driver at Fidelity Courier Services; and a part-time erosion and sediment inspector at Hampton Technical Associates.
In addition to hiring the above officers, the Board approved a school police officer job description, establishing required qualifications and outlining officer’s responsibilities and duties, the most essential of which will be to assist in maintaining the safety and security of the District’s students, staff, and properties.

The school police officers will participate in training throughout August, so that they are ready to go come September, said Shipley. For more information, call (724) 625-1518.