Burke County Public School System adds more resource officers for campus safety
BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WFXG) - Burke County students will see an increased law enforcement presence around school this year. The school system approved additional school resource officers. The move comes after school administrators met with local law enforcement to review school safety policies, procedures, training and response.
According to the Burke County Sheriff's Office, part of the decision was the result of an assessment. Officials determined more deputies were needed at each school. However, it was also a move to potentially save lives. As the new school year approaches, families across the country grieve the lives of 19 students and two teachers who were shot and killed in Uvalde, Texas.
"Nobody wants to see it happen anywhere in the United States.” said Lieutenant Paul Kervin, Burke County Sheriff's Office.
Now, Burke County is building on existing school security measures.
"You can count on us, you can talk to us. Other than that they’re, we’re just…we’re there.” said Lt. Kervin.
Each campus will have at least one school resource officer. Lt. Paul Kervin believes presence matters.
“It's a physical deterrent. For one, you see a marked car and uniformed deputy at a school, you know if you think about it, do you really want to go in a school and try to engage in something and have somebody there that’s going to take action?” asked Lt. Kervin.
Blakeney Elementary School Principal James Epps feels the decision to add more resource officers couldn’t have come at a better time.
"This year, it’s more important than ever to provide the most support to our students, faculty and staff. I was just heartbroken. It was a terrible loss for our country, our schools. I mean, parents send their students to school to be safe." said James Epps, Blakeney Elementary School Principal.
Epps says safety technology is already in place at Blakeney Elementary.
"We have a door bell system where every visitor has to be rang in through the front office. There’s an additional layer of support with the additional doors that they also have to be buzzed through to come into the building itself. All of our exterior doors lock automatically. There's no re-entry without a badge or a key. I think we do as much as we can to protect our kids and make sure nobody is coming in and out." said Epps.
The Burke County Public School System also issued a statement:
The Burke County Public School System places a great deal of emphasis on school safety. The positive relationships developed between students, school personnel, and SRO’s are valuable. It is important for students to see law enforcement officers as positive figures. With the additional SRO’s in our schools, students get to know and trust law enforcement. If their initial experience with a police officer is positive, that’s something that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Both the Burke County Sheriff's Office and Public School System urge parents to talk to their student(s) about safety and how they should always report suspicious activity.
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