It's been two years since elementary students have attended classes in downtown Perryville.
And now that the school renovation is completed, there will be another 350 or so children in the downtown.
The Perryville Police Department is ready.
According to Lt. Keith Budnick, there will be additional police vehicles on the streets looking for speeders, and as many as four officers on bicycles on patrol. The Lieutenant explained that for two years, the area of Maywood Avenue has been a construction zone. "Now it's a kid zone," said Budnick.
During the first week of school, officers in cruisers will be performing speed enforcement on Aiken Avenue. Over the years, officers have written countless warnings to remind drivers to slow down for back to school.
An addition to the officers in cars, there will be as many as four officers on bike patrol when students head back to class. Budnick said those officers will likely be at both Perryville Elementary and Perryville Middle. There will also be non police department crossing guards stationed at Richmond Street/Aiken Avenue and Aiken Avenue/Otsego Street.
Police Chief Allen Miller and Lt. Budnick have also learned the lay of the land at the new building. They've toured the school and met with administrators.
"The safety of the kids is very important. We have taken all the appropriate measures," said Lt. Budnick.
Detective Dale Hoffman is certified to do bike patrol. He said those trained in bike patrol wear specific safety equipment including reflective clothing. They also had 40 hours of training including navigating a bicycle on steps, shooting from a bicycle, and how to fall without getting injured.
Budnick said the effort is underway to get another officer trained to do DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) at Perryville Middle. Two new officers, David Leas from Cecil Sheriff's Office and Austin Gutridge, who worked for Baltimore City Police, are joining the department.
The department is also working on obtaining a "What's Your Speed" sign. That won't be in place when classes start on August 29.
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