JACKSON TWP.: In an effort to increase security in all the buildings of the district, Jackson Local Schools will help pay the salaries of two new part-time police officers.
While the district already has a school resource officer in the high school, law enforcement and school officials have wanted to add a police presence in all the buildings. Patrol officers have made it a point to visit schools while on duty, but there has always been a need for police to be in the schools for most of the school day.
"This is going to give us the ability to fulfill security needs at all the schools," said Police Chief David Zink.
Two officers already on staff will be added to the schools. Each officer will have an office at the middle school, but will divide their time among all of the buildings. They will work up to 28 hours a week.
Both Zink and Superintendent Chris DiLoreto have worked together to enable the part-time officers to continually be present in the schools. Resource officers control and monitor traffic arriving and departing from the school, conduct investigations, make necessary arrests, perform lockdown drills and attend extracurricular/sports activities. The officers are also there to counsel, teach and speak with the students.
Chief Zink said that this has been an ongoing project and now, with the recent school shootings in Newton, Conn., it is more important than ever.
"Having the officers there will increase response time and may serve as a deterrent for bad behavior," Zink said.
DiLoreto added, "Safety is a main concern here at the schools."
DiLoreto added that the police department and the district are working closely together to complete deal for the added security, including deciding on what percentage of the officers’ salaries will be paid for by the district.
The police officers will not begin duty until the salary issue is decided.
Once in place, the police officers will work hand-in-hand with the school district to be a classroom resource in the areas of law related education, violence diffusion, safety programs, drug and alcohol prevention, crime prevention and counseling.