Rep. Marc Lombardo, left, and Sgt. Bill West at the State House Tuesday.Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.
Rep. Marc Lombardo, left, and Sgt. Bill West at the State House Tuesday.

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our Smugmug site.

BOSTON -- Police officers could someday patrol hallways and provide extra security in schools, thanks to a push from a local state legislator and police sergeant.

State Rep. Marc Lombardo, R-Billerica, and Billerica Police Sgt. Bill West took the first step in the process on Tuesday by testifying for the Bill West School Safety bill in front of the Joint Committee on Revenue.

West told the committee that the bill, which would allow police officers provide volunteer security in schools, "would help save many children in these terrible times."

"We can't be in denial. These tragic incidents are going to continue," West told the committee at the Statehouse. "They've continued on and on.

"This bill is very important to get around costs for cities and towns, while putting extra officers in our schools to protect our children who are most dear to us," he added.

The legislation would allow collaboration between a local school district and municipal police officers to provide security in public schools. Police officers would provide volunteer security in the public school in exchange for the ability to receive a tax write-off for the hours volunteered.

West, a lifelong Billerica resident who has served in the Billerica Police Department since 1993, approached Lombardo about this idea after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Dec. 2012, when 20 children and six adults were killed in the school shooting.

"In wake of all the violence in the schools, we got together and came up with this bill that makes a lot of sense for our communities to add further protection in our schools," Lombardo said.

For more on this story, read Wednesday's edition of The Sun and visit www.lowellsun.com.

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