Plans for a school police department
By PJ Martin, Office/News Reporter, Metcalfe Division
The December meeting of the Metcalfe County Board of Education began with the swearing in of returning board members Joey Shive and Donnie Perry by Barren Metcalfe Family Court Judge Mica Wood Pence. Their new term begins January 2019 and ends December 2022.
A procedure manual for the new School Police Department was presented for review. The manual is modeled after the one used in Montgomery County. Director of Pupil Personnel Chris Huffman stated that he learned about the program from the Kentucky Center for Safe Schools.
There would be a certified School Law Enforcement Officer (SLEO) in each school required to have the same certifications as the sheriff’s department and city police officers. Huffman pointed out that, “They have the jurisdictions of arresting procedures, they can pull people over in our parking lot for speeding, they can do investigations, as long as it’s on school property or at school events. Football games at the City Park – they have all the rights up there if somebody gets in a fight, to make an arrest to makes charges and do all of that kind of stuff.”
The police office would be based at the board of education building with offices and officers at each school. The officers would also be working with the students providing programs for drug and alcohol education. The school system will provide uniforms, and approved weapons. All the officers will be required to have a background check and be approved.
Dr. Lile added, “We have met with all three principals and had discussions about this. Chris [Huffman] has also talked with the sheriff and with the city police chief about this program as well. We’ve tried to have everybody in the know as we move forward on this.”
The board approved the plan and the paperwork and meeting minutes are being sent to Frankfort for their approval.
Huffman presented the status of the plans to update the 25 year old HVAC and lighting at the high school building. The plans have been approved by the Kentucky Department of Education (BG-1). Work will hopefully begin around March and be completed by the 2019-2020 school year. The boilers, chillers, all pumps and room units will be replaced along with automated controls being installed. The old florescent bulbs are being replaced by LED bulbs. All this will be energy efficient enough to possibly generate enough savings for the bond payment.
A special recognition award was presented to Johnnie Tarter for his work with the school and the sports teams doing extensive photography work at no cost. Superintendent Benny Lile said “We consider you one of us. He is obviously a fixture at our ball games taking pictures.” Lile also pointed out that Tarter also teaches Drivers Education classes.
On January 5, 2019, there will be a throwback game at the old school with alumni band and players.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 6 p.m.