West Memphis PD adding SkyCops to all city schools, hope to add school officers by 2019

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- West Memphis Police announced Wednesday they'd ordered ten SkyCop devices to install at all West Memphis district schools within a month of the new school year.

West Memphis School officials said they’d been talking all summer with police about how to defend their schools against potential mass shootings.

“Nationwide that’s pretty much dominated the topic board for most public schools all summer. In the state of Arkansas, it’s no different," Superintendent Jon Collins said.

“We decided it would be beneficial to implement a SkyCop program at each West Memphis schools for the upcoming year," WMPD Capt. Joe Baker said.

Baker said they couldn't order them until Tuesday because they were waiting for a private donation of $65,000. They hope to have them installed within one month of the beginning of the school year.

The SkyCops will go up at all 10 schools in the city but eventually they want to replace them with real officers.

“Obviously funding, training, all those elements come in to play and we’re in conversation with the school district at this time to try to find a way to fund that," Baker said.

The city already has three school resource officers but they'd have to hire seven more to staff one per school.

Parents supported the plans.

"That would be a nice idea," Adra Hazley said.

“I think it’s a great idea. As long as they’re making the improvements we need to make sure every kid is safe it’s a plus," Kelly Carpenter said.

Officials said they hope to have officers at every school by fall of 2019.