Georgia District Creates Police Department
The Muscogee County School District is putting together its own police department.
- By Jessica Davis
- June 05, 2019
The Muscogee County School District is putting together its own police department. The department, which should be in place by the beginning of the school year in August, was created in response to recent school shootings.
Officials discussed the new police force at a recent school board meeting.
A police chief has already been hired. The district is working on the first hiring phase now, focusing on command staff—one captain and two sergeants—and 15 officers. Hiring 15 officers will allow for one placed at each of the district’s nine high schools and six officers to rotate between the 12 middle school campuses.
The second hiring phase, to take place next year, will focus on six officers to rotate among 32 elementary schools.
Newly hired Police Chief Greg Arp said it’s taking time to hire the officers because each candidate is undergoing background investigations, including polygraphs and psychological assessments.
"I want the very best individuals as a representation of this board and of this community," Arp said, "being in the schools on a daily basis."
The department will be headquartered in renovated space at the Marshall Success Center, which houses the Muscogee County’s alternative school. Board member Kia Chambers expressed concern that a police presence in that space might make the students feel like they’re in prison or a youth detention center.
Arp said the headquarters “won’t be full of officers” because they’ll be on patrol and in place at assigned schools. “We don’t plan on sitting behind the desk,” he said.
There will be police signage at the Marshall Success Center to let people know where the district police headquarters is located, Arp said. “However, you’re not going to see a bunch of patrol cars around the front of the building. You're not going to see officers congregated in one area.”
Arp said that it will be important for officers to build relationships with parents and students.
"The plan is, every morning, whenever you drop off your student or your child at the school, you're going to see one of our smiling faces standing out in front," Arp said. "I'm passionate about these officers getting to know the families as well as the students. It's going to make or break this program."
"We're here to enhance their education,” Arp added. “We're here to make sure that, whenever they come to school every day, they don't have to worry about anything. The relationships with these officers in the schools is going to be paramount to the success of this program."