Viewpoint: School police department is worth keeping

In an effort to cut costs, the Dougherty County School System is proposing several cost-cutting measures including closing some schools, outsourcing some services, and doing away with its School Police Program.

It would allow the Albany Police Department to handle policing needs in our schools. None of these will be easy to swallow. However, we are asking the school system to thoroughly think through the proposal to do away with its school police department!

It's a new day! Since the APD last had the responsibility of "policing" our schools, schools themselves have become places where gang and some crime activity have increased. Not to mention the fact that gang activity in our neighborhoods, car break-ins, metal thefts, and other criminal activity have hit hard.

As a result, the Albany Police Department already has its hands full. Adding on the responsibility of policing our schools would require more personnel for the APD, not to mention a dependence on grants to fund that personnel… Grant money that has been lost in the past.

We also believe that the school police have developed a rapport with the students in our schools. The students know the officers and the officers know the students. That is a relationship that could be very beneficial in getting to the bottom of various criminal activities or just maintaining a level of established trust.

Again, we know that some difficult cuts have to be made somewhere. However, we say cutting the school police dept. is just a bad idea!