COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Muscogee County schools will see some changes to the way they go about protecting children.
During Monday’s Muscogee County School Board work session, the board voted unanimously to hire a new School Security Police Chief and change how employees could handle crisis situations.
“This is something brand new for our school district and I feel like it’s going to be the best that we could do," said District 6 School Board Representative Mark Cantrell. "We’re taking the proper steps to make sure our children are the safest children in Georgia.”
The board created and filled the position in an effort to put a microscope on safety in schools across Muscogee County.
“There’s going to be a comprehensive plan that we have to come up with. There’s a lot of things we have to put in place before we can fill the force for the next school year. We’re going to work diligently during the next coming months to do that,” explained newly hired police chief, Gregory Arp.
Arp is currently a chief investigator in Ellijay, Georgia and former school resource officer. In April, he will begin as the new police chief for MCSD. Parents said it’s needed to protect children in their learning environments.
“It’s good for them and all kids to have some kind of protection---an adult at the school that really cares about the kids,” said Roberta Pyatt, who has two grandchildren who attend county schools.
“So now that we have our chief on board. He’ll start the process of hiring his command staff and other officers,” said Superintendent David Lewis.
In addition to a new chief, the board also unanimously voted on a $1.6 million security system for school employees to carry ID cards like badges capable of triggering an alert for crisis response.
“This will be a whole new organization as far as law enforcement in our community. We have to go through all the process now that we are a certified agency. We have to go through all the process of getting approval for that as well as taking it before our board for their approval as well,” said Lewis.
The funding is expected to come from the 2015 SPLOST and other sources to be determined.
Arp will begin his role on April 1. The new security plan for employees is expected to be implemented in the near future. It’s still to be determined on how long before it’s in place.