Penn Hills School District names first-ever police chief

Officer Keith Lazaron will serve as Penn Hills School District’s first-ever police chief. Channel 11 News sat down one-on-one with him as he got his first look at the middle school and met some of the students.

“Safety is No. 1,” said the newly appointed district chief, Keith Lazaron.

On Wednesday, the district announced that 21-year police veteran Keith Lazaron will serve as the district’s first-ever police chief. On Friday, he got his first look at the job.

Lazaron said he received a “lot of high-fives and tons of handshakes.”

Before coming to the district, Lazaron worked for Fawn Township police, the VA, and the military police.

Lazaron currently works as a school resource officer in Armstrong County and said his experience there inspired him to apply.

“Some of it isn’t about that armed officer; it is more about whether you are there to listen,” Lazaron said.

Building relationships with students, staff and parents will be a key factor in the success of the force, which will likely consist of two officers in each building and a guard at each entrance.

Lazaron added officer personnel will equally play a big role.

“I am looking forward to hiring a very diverse team,” Lazaron said, adding that he plans to “get some female officers” and “African American officers” in order to “build a solid team.”

Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hines said initially, she was hesitant to sign off on to the creation of a school police force. However, she said it was Lazaron’s commitment to inclusion and positive outlook that made him an ideal candidate.

“We don’t want somebody who is here power tripping, lording power over the kids, or barking at the kids. That is not the model we were aspiring to,” explained Hines.

The district was able to form its police force through a grant, but Dr. Hines said over time, additional funding will have to be secured to keep the force.

“Moving forward, there is a burden on the district to find creative ways to sustain this force,” Hines said.

The chief said in the next six months, he wants to put together the complete police force.

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