Officers help keep peace in schools - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Officers help keep peace in schools

September 28, 2006

Albany -  - A day after a deadly school shooting in Colorado, school administrators in Dougherty County say steps are already in place to prevent it from happening in their schools.

In case you couldn't see the badge, their presence is seen with every step through the halls.

 "I feel pretty safe. We got some big police officers here. So there's not much that can happen here at Monroe," says 12th grader Devin Shaw.

There are 18 in Dougherty County schools, two of them work at Monroe High from the first bell to the last. You see them mingling with students - creating a relationship of trust.

Students say part of what makes this relationship is that the officers are like friends. They don't see them as cops. "They get to know the students. They're not always mean. They help us, we can talk to them about things. They're not just police, they help us out with stuff. They get to know the students as individuals," says 12th grader Cecily Pouncil.

"Just having them on site, means a lot," Principal Deloris Speals. She says the officers also help with mediation between students and even counseling parents. On top of having cops...there's more security in place. If you're not a student or teacher, you can't just walk through the door and roam the halls.

"You absolutely can not, you have to go to the front office, and we have signs that indicate the area, go in sign in as a visitor and you still have to get permission," Speals says.

Then you get a badge that says you're a visitor. If you try to sidestep this procedure, you may be called out on one of these.

"Spears to Dr. Pringle, what's your 20?"

One teacher on each hall carries a walkie talkie to communicate with administrators and the officers. A few extra precautions so students feel at ease.

"Very safe. I know everybody and everybody's just friendly. It's a good, safe school, and they make sure no one has any weapons or anything," Pouncil says.

They plan to keep it that way. 

This is the first time the Dougherty County School system will have its own police officers for a full year. They started in the middle of last year when the Albany Police Department could no longer serve the county school system.

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