(DeSoto County, MS) For years, local police departments and the DeSoto Sheriff have teamed up to put officers in DeSoto County schools.
Southaven Police Chief Tom Long calls the project a win-win.
"It makes the school system safer. As far as the officers’ presence in the school, the other aspect is, it’s a great relationship builder with the students in the school.”
How well is it working to school leaders? So well that they decided to forgo even applying for state grant money to hire security officers.
The state grants came about, in part, after the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
The idea was to help school districts without a lot of financial resources beef up security.
A school spokesperson says no school has more than a two-minute response time for a law officer to show up, and most have less than that.
Chief Long points out that the use of grant money comes with limits.
"Right now, we’ve got a good system. We understand what’s going on and with grant money, you never know how long that’s going to last.”
So DeSoto County schools will keep with what they call a program that’s working well, supplemented with their own internal efforts to make buildings safer and give employees more training.
”The schools priority is safety, our priority is safety and our teaming up to work together is exactly what I think the parents want” said Long.
That, and safe, secure classrooms.