Viewpoint: School Safety

The December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut brought renewed attention to school security.

While no security plan can guarantee absolute protection at all times, we have confidence in the safety of Dougherty County Schools. The system is the only one in our area with its own police force of 24 officers.

Monday, we featured Lt. Ted Thomas in a story about school security. He's a fine example of the benefits of having full time officers in schools.

Lt. Thomas is dedicated not only to protecting kids, but helping them succeed in school and in life. He worked for years as a school resource officer for the Albany Police Department before joining the school police force when it formed.

He builds relationships with students so they are comfortable telling him about potential problems in school. They also often give him information that helps solve or prevent crimes away from campus. Having armed officers at all middle and high schools at all times makes them safer.

While officers aren't stationed full time at elementary schools, that is something school leaders say they will look at as they review their security plans this year as they continue to work to make sure that all Dougherty County students are safe at school.