York County President Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh
York County President Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh

A York County judge has granted permission for the York City School District to create its own police department.

In a recent ruling, President Judge Stephen Linebaugh approved four district security guards as school police officers once they take the oath of office.

The employees are Richard Muldrow Jr., Michael Muldrow, Bryan Einsig and Percy Powell Jr.

Those officers "shall have and possess all of the authorities and powers that are or may hereafter be exercised under authority of law or ordinance by the police of the municipality wherein the school property is located including, but not limited to, the power to arrest and issue or file (summary) citations for the enforcement of summary offenses, the authority to detain students and individuals until the arrival of local law enforcement for crimes (misdemeanors and felonies)," the ruling reads.

The district would also retain the services of two York City Police officers who patrol school grounds during the school year, Superintendent Eric Holmes has said.

The district's officers will not be allowed to carry firearms "or other lethal weapon," the ruling states.

That distinction was both part of the district's initial request and emphasized in Linebaugh's ruling.

Now that the district has the court's blessing to create a police department, it can proceed with discussion of policy issues, including weapons, Holmes said. He declined to speculate on the outcome of the weapons discussion.

Such policy decisions will be made by the school board at future meetings, which are open to the public, Holmes said.

The board will hold a committee meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. The next voting meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Holmes said the next step in the process is the formal creation of job descriptions. The district also needs to designate a police chief.

Holmes stressed that the district's officers will enhance school security but will function similarly to the way they do now.

The district's officers will gain the ability to arrest and detain people who bring trouble in to the schools, he said.

"What happens with folks inside won't change much," Holmes said. "We have always had the ability in the school district to deal with internal issues."

-- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.