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April 16, 2014

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RCS to have assigned officer

Published: 10:02 AM, 12/24/2012 Last updated: 10:18 AM, 12/24/2012

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE - Students may notice something different at Rogersville City School when they return for classes January 3, the presence of a Rogersville Police Department officer.
    According to Rogersville Police Chief Doug Nelson and Rogersville City School Director Rebecca Isaacs, city and school officials have agreed that an officer should again be stationed at the school when classes are in session.
    Nelson noted that in light of events, including the recent mass shooting of elementary school students in Connecticut, returning an officer to the school should not only ease the concerns of parents, students and school staff, it will also provide an extra level of security.
    "We want to do everything we can to make sure the school is as safe and secure as it can be.  Having an officer stationed there just makes sense.  It is always better to be safe than be sorry," he explained.
    The school previously had a School Resource Officer (SRO) but that position was eliminated when budget constraints led to its demise.
    "A lot of factors came in to play leading to the removal of the officer, but everyone agreed that now is the time to figure out a way to bring it back," Nelson added.
    The city and the school first worked together in 1999 to create the resource officer position, with each responsible for paying part of the salary.  In order to provide year-round employment and make the full-time position available, the police department agreed to hire the officer during the summer months to patrol the city parks.
    Isaacs said the SROs who previously served at Rogersville City School were "great additions to our staff, members of our school family, and were sorely missed" when funding necessitated they could no longer protect and serve in that day-to-day capacity.              
   "Obviously, in light of last Friday's horrific event in Connecticut, we have looked closely at our safety and security plans and procedures and the need for a full-time officer at RCS was again addressed," the director said.  "Chief Nelson and his staff were quickly responsive to that end, as they have always been through the years, and made our dream of a full-time officer a reality by working with our city leaders to get the placement of a full-time SRO accomplished effective January 3." 
    Nelson said specific details of the arrangement are still being worked out.
    "There are still some things we need to looking at, but we know for sure that we are going to have an officer over there. There is no question about that," the chief added.
    Isaacs said the plan to station an officer is something she and everyone associated with the school appreciate.
    "On behalf of all of us who love and support Rogersville City School, I am so thankful for the commitment to the safety of our students and staff that our city leaders have shown by making this placement possible," the director explained. "While we may rest a little easier with this good news over the Christmas break, we will continue to remember those who've suffered and sacrificed in Connecticut and pray for their healing, peace, and God's grace."

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