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Police program will put more officers in Hartselle City Schools

The police department plans to fill two positions by the start of the next school year.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 9:36 PM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 11:18 PM

A new school protection program spearheaded by the Hartselle Police Department will put more officers in the city's schools.

WAAY 31 found out how things will change this upcoming school year.

The two current school resource officers for Hartselle City Schools are full-time police officers that also mentor students and teach classes. To make sure school security isn't compromised, two new officers are being added with their sole focus being safety.

Brenda Jackson has two grandchildren in Hartselle City Schools and worries whenever they leave the house to go to school.

"We turn on the news....a month, maybe two months...there's a shooting. Kids are killed," Jackson said.

She's glad to hear added security is on the way.

"It's an awesome idea to have help extra help to protect our kids," she said.

Two resource officers are responsible for the safety of almost 3,500 students across six schools. The Hartselle Police Department is addressing the lack of oversight by creating a program that hires two new school protection officers.

Police Chief Justin Barley says the school protection officers will be retired officers with at least 20 years of experience. He says four officers patrolling the school district is a big security upgrade. 

"They're role is going to be a little different from what the resource officers do. Primarily, they are there for protection, presence and crime prevention," Barley said.

Jackson says it's not enough.

"Two officers added? That's a start," she said.

The school protection officers will be paid by the police department, but they don't know how much that will cost yet. The school district will then reimburse them.

To Jackson, the safety of all children is the most important thing.

"That everyone goes back home to the ones that they love after that bell rings at the end of the day," she said.

The police department plans to fill the two positions by the start of the next school year. They are accepting applications here.

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