Officer presence at schools is increasing

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2018

The term “school resource officer” was relatively unheard of 20 or 30 years ago.

For a police officer to dedicate their entire day to ensuring the grounds of the school are safe and secure may have been considered a waste of valuable resources back then.

During that time in our nation’s history, teachers were responsible for ensuring children were not smoking behind the football field’s bleachers, secretaries made sure unexpected visitors did not make it past the front office and principals issued corporal punishment to students who were regular trouble makers.

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Today, in order for visitors to access a school campus, they can expect to have to pass through a magnetically locked door previously used only in correctional institutions or other high security facilities. Within the Picayune School District, just like all others within Pearl River County, sworn police officers now patrol campuses to not only ensure children reach class on time, but most of all that their safety is ensured.

Tuesday, the Picayune School District Board of Trustees approved a motion to hire additional police officers that will be stationed at each campus within the District to that effect.

What was four school resource officers will now be seven.

That means that officers who used to move from campus to campus, leaving some gaps in their services at times, will now be full time at a designated campus. 

The change comes with an increased bill to the District, which will be paid to the city for the services of these Picayune Police Department officers.

Even though this will be a more than $110,000 increase to that budget, bringing the total to $260,000, it can be seen as money well spent.

In light of the school shootings reported nationally, the safety of our community’s children can carry no budgetary cap.

For they are the future of Pearl River County, Mississippi and the nation.