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Police in our schools

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January 9, 2007

Albany - Children can be vulnerable to crimes at any time, even while they are at school. Anything from a simple fight to theft and sexual abuse. But if you want to know one of the biggest threats to children, you don't have to look inside the schools.

Since the school year began in August, Dougherty County School System Police officers have responded to more than 350 cases. You probably wouldn't be surprised to know that kids get into lots of fights, which accounts for the 54 assault and battery cases, and they disrupted school about 58 times, but one of the largest areas police officers dealt with, 59 cases, was children being abused, not at school, but at home.

Police Chief Troy Conley says, "The initial outcry is where a student or an individual that is labeled as a victim comes forward to a school administrator."

Surprisingly, the police department didn't deal with a lot of drug investigations. They only had 11 cases in five months, but Chief Troy Conley says you may see an increase in those numbers because he's cracking down on law breakers.

Conley says, "we work with the drug unit in conducting routine sweeps and random sweeps using the drug detection dogs."

Because kids will be kids, there have been 11 bomb threats this year, that can probably also be tied into disruption of school, but don't blame the students for everything. The police department responds to everything that happens on school system property.

"Although we are a school police department," says Conley, "we respond to the same types of calls any law enforcement agency would.  If we come into contact with an offender that violates state law, then we handle it accordingly."

Police also responded to 28 thefts, six sexual assault cases, but no rapes or aggravated cases. There were also reports of weapons on campus, but Chief Conley says there were no firearms.

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