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Sheriff's Department also to increase security at L.A. schools

December 17, 2012 |  1:21 pm

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday said it will step up security efforts at schools within its jurisdiction, mirroring an announcement made by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

“All our stations are going to be more visible in and around schools in our area,” said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. “We are going to be talking with school administrators and we are going to discuss school response and law enforcement response to such events.”

Whitmore said that the department heightened its presence after a deadly shooting Friday at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, where a gunman opened fire and killed 20 students and six adults.

But going forward, Whitmore said, each time a deputy patrols on or around campus, those contacts will automatically be logged into a department database or manually into books. Deputies will also go onto each campus each day, he said, and will discuss with school administrators potential threats and steps they can take to mitigate them.

“Our goal, obviously, is to make our schools as safe as humanly possible,” Whitmore said.

On Sunday, Beck said LAPD's increased security efforts would begin when students return to classes in January from winter break. That announcement came the same day Los Angeles police and FBI agents  arrested a Pomona man  who allegedly threatened shootings at multiple elementary schools.

The threats were made on Facebook, and, though they did not mention any schools specifically, referenced the Newtown shooting, the LAPD said. The suspect, Kyle Bangayan, 24, of Pomona, was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats and held on $500,000 bail.

Authorities found nine weapons — rifles, a shotgun and multiple handguns — along with ammunition at the East Hollywood home of the suspects' parents, which is where Bangayan was arrested, the LAPD said. It was not immediately known to whom the guns belonged.

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— Andrew Blankstein

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