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Response to Franklin Regional stabbings earns official top public safety spot | TribLIVE.com
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Response to Franklin Regional stabbings earns official top public safety spot

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:01 a.m
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Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Peter Knarr of the Amplified Church in Plum holds up a plexiglass sign to film a Easter video about with the theme of hope rising as students are dismissed from Franklin Regional High School on April 16, 2014 after the first full day of the tragic stabbing incident.
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Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Gracey Evans, 17, sits at the breakfast table on April 16, 2014 while waiting for her bus to return to school for the first day of classes since the stabbing tragedy that occurred on April 9, 2014 at Franklin Regional High School. Evans is clutching a pillow that she is bringing to school for her friend Brett Hurt, 16, who was stabbed in the back while protecting her. She applied pressure to Hurt's wounds until medics arrived.
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Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Rev. Marnie Silbert, (from left) associate pastor at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville, her daughter, Hannah Silbert, and member Barbara Rissler, mother of a Franklin Regional senior, greet students and faculty along Old William Penn Highway as they return to school for classes on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
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Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional High School students and faculty return to school on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
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Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Gracey Evans, 17, catches her bus on April 16, 2014 to return to school for the first day of classes since the stabbing tragedy that occurred on April 9, 2014 at Franklin Regional High School. Evans is clutching a pillow that she is bringing to school for her friend Brett Hurt, 16, who was stabbed in the back while protecting her. She applied pressure to Hurt's wounds until medics arrived.
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Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Bill Evans, the father of Gracey Evans, checks in on his daughter by text message as she arrives at Franklin Regional High School for the first day of classes since the stabbing tragedy that occurred on April 9, 2014.

Westmoreland commissioners on Wednesday praised the county’s emergency response to last week’s knife rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High School by promoting the public safety department’s interim director.

Commissioners hired Brian Jones to the department’s top job, a position he has held on an interim basis since late last year.

“He stepped up and was very aggressive in what he was doing. That culminated with the events (last week) in Murrysville and how effective our 911 response was. It was certainly a factor,” said Commissioner Charles Anderson.

Jones was rehired by the county in October 2012 at a salary of about $76,000 to serve as a deputy to the public safety director at that time, Michael Brooker.

Brooker, who earned $7,000 less than Jones, was asked to resign at the end of last year.

Commissioners said Jones will continue to earn his current salary in his new job. Before his current stint, Jones spent about a decade in the county’s emergency dispatch system.

He worked as a 911 dispatcher, then was promoted to a supervisory role as chief of communications. In 1998, Jones left to become Allegheny County’s deputy with emergency services. He joined the private sector in 2002, working for Ebensburg-based L.R. Kimball and Associates as a vice president of operations.

Jones served as vice president of product development for Essential Management Solutions, where he supervised about 25 people, before returning to county government in 2012.

A national search for Brooker’s replacement identified six candidates. Two finalists were interviewed, including Jones, who met with commissioners earlier this week.

“With what happened in Murrysville, we cannot afford not to have good leadership in there,” said Commissioner Tyler Courtney.

Jones will continue to run a department with a $51 million annual budget and oversee all emergency dispatching and first responders for the county.

Jones could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Commissioner Ted Kopas said Jones’ hire was good for the county.

“Over the past few months, Brian Jones has proven himself capable of the promotion,” Kopas said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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