Junior high to get a sheriff’s officer

images-3By Kathryn Jones

Editor

Glen Rose Junior High School this week will get an officer from the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department to provide extra security.

On Monday Somervell County commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement with the Glen Rose Independent School District  to provide an additional school resource officer. One officer, Mike Reynolds, already is assigned to the high school.

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, school districts around the nation have been debating how to better protect their students and teachers. Some are discussing allowing teachers to be armed; others favor bringing in more resources from law enforcement authorities. One question has been how to pay for that.

County Judge Mike Ford said GRISD Superintendent Wayne Rotan recently approached him and Somervell County Chief Deputy Derrell McCravey about adding another officer at the junior high.

Under the agreement, the GRISD will reimburse the sheriff’s department for all payroll costs for that position. The county will provide the officer’s equipment and training.

“The whole security at the schools is an ongoing discussion,” McCravey said. “We have regular meetings to address those issues and changes that come up.”

The officer who will be assigned to the junior high is Alan West. He will begin his work at the school on Feb. 1.

The timing of adding a second officer to the school district was “fortunate,” McCravey said. The sheriff’s office last summer sent two officers, including West, to D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, training.

West will work eight hours a day on the junior high campus, McCravey told the Current. He will patrol the halls and grounds and also provide a law enforcement presence on campus to deter activities such as drug possession. For example, some students at the beginning of the school year brought prescription drugs to school, “not understanding what the effects were,” McCravey said.

Because the junior high campus is apart from the other schools, it is a “little bit isolated,” McCravey said.

“These kids are at an age when their attitudes are changing, and having that presence there and building some rapport” could head off problems later, he added.

The sheriff’s office plans to hire another officer to replace the one who will be assigned to the junior high, McCravey said.

Since the Newtown shootings, patrol officers also have been making more passes by the schools and and are making their presence known in all of the schools, Ford said.

“There is great cooperation between the school district and law enforcement, and this is a natural step that hopefully will ensure the safety of our kids even more,” Ford added.

Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the measure.

McCravey also pointed out that a new website, somervellcrimestoppers.com, launched last week allows people to submit anonymous tips to law enforcement by texting or email.  The site “goes a long way” to bringing the fight against crime into the 21 century, McCravey said.

 

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