Several months after a fervent discussion on student safety, Dawson County’s Board of Commissioners revisited placing more law enforcement officers at local public schools.
This story continues below.
During their first public meeting of the year on Jan. 19, the board heard a formal proposal from Sheriff Jeff Johnson to add a second officer at Dawson County High School.
This presentation followed DCSO’s announcement earlier in the week about Sgt. Randy Mullis’s promotion to oversee the agency’s school resource officers or SROs.
The second DCHS position would be a full-time one housed in the high schools’ college and career academy, near the high school’s forthcoming AgriScience center.
Dawson County Schools Superintendent Nicole Lecave reiterated the need for another officer given the recent addition of multiple stand-alone facilities to the high school’s campus.
"The high school is our [school system’s] only open campus, where students travel outside the main building to other facilities for classes. Additionally, the campus has a steady flow of visitors on most days. Both the college and career academy and the new agricultural center are a reasonable distance from the main building where the current SRO is housed,” LeCave said. “A new SRO would be housed in our college and career academy to provide a layer of security on that end of the campus."
That school resource officer’s salary would cost $49,642 or $78,887 with benefits. The SRO role would be paid for by a 50-50 split between the Dawson County Board of Education and the county per their current agreement, Johnson said.
Any additional car or equipment would be paid for internally by DCSO, the sheriff added.
Currently, there is one opening among DCSO’s school resource officers. Johnson shared that there’s already interest in the position from SRO-certified personnel, so his agency is “ready to pull” from in-house in the near future.
“The [high school] campus has become so spread out that additional coverage would just be inevitable,” said District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines.
The planned officer addition follows prior conversations between DCSO, the school system and the county.
“How many resource officers do you recommend for a high school of this size that’s growing?” said newly-seated District 3 Commissioner Alexa Bruce.
Citing a lack of agencies that study officer-to-student ratios, Johnson said that would be difficult to pinpoint.
“To my knowledge, not all school systems have one [SRO] in every school, so we’re very lucky that we’ve got one in every school,” Gaines added.