School board looking at upping police presence in schools

Would provide benefits to schools and to JPD

When Bernie Sanders asked Greene County High School students last week what issues are important to them, they quickly answered “school shootings.” (See related story under the Features tab.)

The Greene County Schools board of education also had school safety on their minds last week, a week after a shooting at a Florida high school left 17 persons dead. The board at its Feb. 21 meeting asked fellow board member Steve Fisher to continue exploring an option he suggested that would enhance school safety at very little cost to the district.

Fisher said he has always been concerned about school security. He said he “floated” an idea past Jefferson police chief Mark Clouse that he first heard from a friend of his who is retired from Air Force security.

He suggested that a space be set aside inside the entrance to each school as a remote station for police officers. Patrol officers could use the space to file reports and use their computers, something Clouse said they often do sitting in their patrol cars. “This could put officers in the buildings on a regular yet random basis,” Fisher said.

“Just the police presence, and the unknown of when it would be, would be great for an awareness that there are people looking over the schools,” Fisher said. He added the

Clouse thinks it would be good exposure for the officers to be around the students, and for the kids to develop relationships with the officers.

“I think having a greater police presence in our schools would have a lot of benefits along with better security,” Fisher said.

Elementary principal Scott Johnson said since the start of the school year police officers have made random visits to the school. He said officers have become comfortable strolling the halls and that he loves having them there.

Board president Mark Peters called in “a great idea.”

“I think we should pursue it, not wait on it,” board member Catherine Wilson said.

Fisher was asked to continue conversation with Clouse about implementing the plan.

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