Lincoln parent group pushing for officers in middle schools
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A newly formed group of parents and grandparents is pressing the city of Lincoln and the Lincoln school district to put police officers in all 12 district middle schools.
Parents United For Greater School Safety asked the Lincoln Public Schools board and City Council to consider the proposal, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .
“We need these (school resource officers) to be a first-responder in the event of an incident,” said Greg Jeffers, a member of the group.
The Lincoln Police Department currently has six resource officers assigned to the district’s six high schools. The city pays for two-thirds of the cost and the district covers the rest.
The district previously had four school resource officers covering the middle schools until 2011, when officials decided the officers were needed for regular duty.
Adding the middle school officers would give more than half of the district’s students access to a resource officer, said Cheryl Bullard, a member of the parent group.
The group encouraged the city to apply for a federal COPS grant to help pay for the new positions. The grant would cover up to 75 percent of salary and benefits of police officers for three years, Bullard said. Those federal funds could drop the school district’s and the city’s contribution to as low as $187,500 annually.
City and school officials are discussing the possibility of adding school resources officers and hiring more officers to do threat assessment, said Rick Hoppe, chief of staff for Mayor Chris Beutler.
School board committees are considering a variety of security issues, such as having social media-monitoring software to detect potential threats, improving school entrances, having sensors detect open doors and improving communication about lockdown drills and protocols.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com