Albemarle County Public Creating In-House Campus Safety Program
Albemarle County Public Schools will continue to work with local police on matters such as threat assessments and emergency planning.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. — Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is in the process of establishing a new in-house campus safety program nearly a year after it ended its school resource officer (SRO) contract with the Albemarle County Police Department (ACPD).
Back in June, the Albemarle County School Board voted to eliminate the daily presence of SROs in its schools amid national conversations of policing in America, reports The Daily Progress.
Before making its recommendation, the board reviewed reports on discipline, crime and violence, climate surveys, threat assessment reports, principal input, and student survey data. The student survey was sent to students in grades six through 12 and asked about their level of comfort with SROs and their experiences.
The new proposal, which would potentially be the first of its kind in the state, is still in its early stages. ACPS says a committee is still working on an official recommendation for the program, but it is expected to be included in next year’s budget.
“Right now, I can’t give you the exact date in which it would be implemented,” said ACPS School Board Chair Graham Paige. “We will be receiving a report in a meeting probably within the next month or two.”
Officials said the district still works with ACPD on things such as threat assessments and emergency planning but that the new officers would be completely separate from the police force and will be trained by and answering to the school district, according to NBC 29.
“We’d have eight officers that would be within our buildings, primarily in the high schools,” described Paige. “Being in direct charge of them would be the main draw, the main strong point. Once we have our own resource officers in place, we would be in charge of making their training. We’d be able to make sure that they are being trained in CRT (cultural responsive teaching) and responsive teaching and being able to communicate with all of our students. Also, we’d be able to have a better grasp on how much time they’ve been spending in the schools.”
One drawback, Paige added, is that the program would be completely paid for using the school board’s budget. Under the old SRO program, police shared the costs with the school district.