The addition of two armed resource officers has been approved by the Lynchburg-Clay Board of Education, superintendent Brett Justice said Monday.
Justice said the board already had one resource officer that was hired in September of 2016, and that the board approved hiring two more at its April 16 meeting. He said the school district hopes to have the two new officers in place by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, and that one will be stationed at each building in the school district.
The officers will likely rotate from building to building, Justice said.
“We want each one to know exactly everything that’s going on in each building,” Justice said.
Ever since the school district hired its first resource officer, Justice said he has discussed whether or not an additional officer or officers were needed with the school board and administrators. He said the topic has been brought up in open session at recent school board meetings each time there was a school shooting somewhere around the country.
He said all the building administrators were is support of adding two more resource officers and that the staff was “very happy with the decision.”
Part of the reason the Lynchburg-Clay School District needs resource officers at each building, Justice said, is because without them, it could take law enforcement several minutes to arrive on the scene in the event of some kind of emergency.
“We live in a scary world and it does make you a little nervous,” Justice said. “It gives you a feeling of safety knowing that you do have someone there.”
All three officers next year will be on the school grounds whenever school is in session, Justice said, and they will also be on duty before and after the actual school day, checking locations where school buses pick children up before school and drop them off after school.
He said they will have many other duties including: working with the building administrators to develop school leadership; being visible anytime a lot of students are in one area like when classes are changing and at lunch; being liaisons to other law enforcement and emergency responders; patrolling parking areas and other locations looking for anything out of the ordinary; helping with traffic control; working ball games and other extra curricular activities; presenting classroom programs similar to what the county’s now defunct DARE program used to do; working on crime prevention; and serving in an advisory role when they think students might be involved in something they should not be.
“It’s surprising the rapport they can develop just walking around and interacting with the kids,” Justice said. “We want them to be very visible to the community. That’s why we want them at school functions.”
The resource officers will be asked to be the school district’s first responders, Justice said.
“Hopefully it will give everyone a little bit of comfort knowing we have someone at each campus in the event that something would happen,” Justice said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.