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MCSD board establishes new district security department; working to hire new police chief

MCSD board establishes new district security department; working to hire new police chief
Updated: Jul. 16, 2018 at 11:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District is embarking on a brand new chapter, creating its very own police agency.

Now it's time to hire the right staff for the district's Security Department to keep students safe across the Fountain City.

School board members voted unanimously to approve the resolution. The board, then moving to officially publish job descriptions for three positions within the agency, is tasked with keeping district middle and high school students safe: a police chief, a police captain, and school resource officers.

News Leader 9 spoke to MCSD Superintendent David Lewis after the meeting ended to talk about the next steps in this process.

"First of all, the resolution now goes to the state and has to be approved there," Lewis said. "Then from there, we'll begin advertising the job descriptions that were first achieved."

This summer, a majority of the board approved a nearly $4 million plan to move forward with hiring more than 20 full-time school resource officers.

The specifics of the job description for police chief, though, sparked debate among board members. Some, like District 7 representative Cathy Williams wanted to clarify the board does not want to exclude candidates from applying because of any limit on the minimum qualifications.

"Those two [requirements] of 10 years of experience with five years of supervision...or management of a police agency...or campus police department," Williams said, referring to the first draft for a police chief's requirements, was published and shared among board members.

"That's one minimum qualification in my mind," she said. "That was my intent."

With those qualifications amended, Lewis said hiring the police chief will come first to set the tone for the rest of the department. However, he said this process will take weeks to finalize, even once the 2018-19 school year begins.

From there, Lewis said, "the roll-out will be gradually moving forward because of the timing factor of the resolution being passed now, and then the official time for us to advertise within the requirements of our policy."

Lewis said he hopes to have the district security department fully staffed, trained, and patrolling schools by October of this year.  When asked about potential salary figures for each of these officer positions, Lewis also said his administration is looking at job requirements for positions across the country, similar to what these officers would be doing and will set their compensation accordingly.

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