As the nation continues to discuss and debate the best way of protecting our children in schools, an Auburn City Councilmen and former police chief say’s it’s time to stop talking and start acting.
“We are there to make things better for them,” began Auburn City Council Member, Tommy Dawson.
Dawson, the former police chief of the Auburn Police Department, is pledging his support to put an armed police officer inside all 12 city schools. Right now Auburn police are assigned full day to some schools. However, most schools are covered by floating officers who travel from school to school during the day. Dawson’s plan would place a dedicated officer in each school, who would remain there for the entire time students are in the classroom.
“With everything that is going on in our country, I think it’s a good idea,” said Auburn City School parent, Paul Gorden.
Auburn police chief Paul Register says he’s all for adding to the additional measures Auburn police already take every day inside the school system.
“Right now, we have more police officers in our school than we ever had. With that being said, we are always assessing the need to do more, and with what’s going on today, we would certainly love to increase the presence we already have,” said Chief Register.
Dr. Karen Delano, the superintendent of Auburn City Schools, says the district has shared a great relationship with the Auburn Police Department. She is also in favor of adding as many police officers as possible on campus. Dr. Delano says an additional 26 officers, at a cost of one million dollars a year, would be needed to place an officer at every school. Dawson is working with Auburn’s City Manager to budget the additional police officers. Dawson is confident the funding can be found, saying Auburn’s children should be top priority.
Dawson says retired officers, working part time with summers off, seem to be the perfect fit. Chief Register says for several years now retiree’s have worked within the city as Community Police Officers. Register says their experience is unmatched, some of them have 25 years or more in law enforcement. The retired officers working with the force are already provide top notch safety and security for various events around town. Register adds retirees are good with people, especially students and fit well within the school. Chief Register says the key is to make sure the students trust the officers they see every day and feel comfortable coming to them with problems. Plus, these officers can work part time, saving money.
“Every retiree who’s a part of the program has volunteered and asked to be a part of the program. We take those that are qualified, highly qualified, have a lot of experience and really want to be here,” said Chief Register.
Dr. Delano does not support the idea of arming teachers in Auburn City Schools. She does support increasing police presence and building security. Soon – you’ll probably have to swipe a pass key to get into schools. Plus, and you’ll see more camera’s added inside and outside local schools.
News 3 will continue to follow this story for and let you know as soon the city council, school district and police department figure out how best to place an police officer at every school. In the meantime, they want parents to know they are doing everything they can to protect your students and give you some peace of mind.