Why more Clark County schools are adding sheriff’s deputies in their buildings

Tecumseh middle and high school students board the bus to leave school. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Clark County and local school officials will be adding school resource officers into more schools next year to help build relationships with the students and provide better protection, officials said.

Tecumseh Local Schools and the Springfield Clark Career Technology Center announced Wednesday they have come to an agreement with the Clark County Commissioners for school resource officers, according to the commission.

A school resource officer can provide the students safety in ways a patrol officer can’t, Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said.

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“The kids feel close to that deputy because they see that deputy every day and they feel like they can confide in that deputy,” Burchett said. “So when there are drugs in the school, anything like that, they come to the deputy.”

There is no immediate threat at the schools, Burchett said, and placing officers there is a proactive step for safety.

“We have to tighten up our schools and protect our children and you never know,” she said.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office will hire three school resource officers, the commission said, and the three combined will cost about $170,000.

“Every child in Clark County should feel safe when they go to school,” said Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes in a statement. “While the officer will protect the school during the day, the deputy will also create lifelong friendships and serves as a role model for students.”

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The school resource officer working at the CTC will be posted on campus throughout the day while the officer for Tecumseh will be centrally located at Tecumseh High School and Tecumseh Middle School.

“And the other schools in the district are only like six minutes away if the officer needs to go there,” Burchett said.

Tecumseh and Springfield Clark CTC will each pay $50,000 a year for the officers, and the commission will pay the rest, according to the commission.

The CTC board hasn’t officially approved the school resource officer cost, CTC Superintendent Michelle Patrick said, and there will likely be a discussion to do that next week.

“Having the presence of a law enforcement individual will help us,” Patrick said. “Having that individual with a trained background to update our safety plans on a regular basis, train staff and train students for certain situations I think is really positive.”