Mullen backs Riley plan to add more officers to school patrols

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said the woman arrested for pointing a gun at Ashley Hall School officials intended to kill, adding it was time for a major security overhaul at Charleston area schools. Mullen said two weeks prior to Monday's incident at Ashley Hall, he spent time meeting with school leaders to discuss the city's new security strategy. He said Monday's incident serves as a frightening reminder of what could have happened at the school. To reduce the odds of a similar incident, Mullen said the city is working on a plan to hire 27 new officers. Nineteen of the officers would be involved only in school security. The other eight officers would patrol upper King Street. The chief said the officers would be in charge of closely patrolling about 35 elementary schools -- both private and public -- and that the schools would be divided into eight clusters with several officers assigned to each. He reiterated much of what Mayor Joe Riley said Monday night. "We just saw a prime example yesterday of what could have happened.{} Fortunately, we were able to respond very quickly.{} There's absolutely no doubt in our mind, based on the investigation that we've done so far, that that woman intended to go there and kill people," Mullen said. Mullen also said Tuesday that because many of the middle and high schools fall into each cluster, the security plan would add extra protection to them in addition to the school resource officers already stationed at the schools. Riley said the city's proposed security plan would could about $3.9 million and plans to recommend it at Tuesday's city council meeting.