More and more School Districts are adding Police or Resource Officers to their Security programs. Just this week, 3 Officers are beginning work in a Centre County School District that was the last in the County to add Officers in School buildings.
Several years ago when Residents in the Penns Valley School District were surveyed about beefing up safety in Schools, adding Security Personnel wasn’t a top priority. Last year, another survey with a far different result. Penns Valley Superintendent Brian Griffith saying: “We asked should we hire School Police Officers, should we hire Resource Officers, should we hire School Security Officers. We explained the difference between each of those groups. Overwhelmingly, over 84% of our community said we want School Police Officers. 91% of those folks said that if it takes tax dollars to do it, we’re there to support.”
In terms of emergencies, one factor for the School District is their location in rural eastern Centre County. Griffith adding: “The greatest risk in Penns Valley is we are far away from the State Police. So the response time is significant.”
So the School Ditrict hired three Police Officers, and each has significant and lengthy Law Enforcement backgrounds. Nicole Eckley, a Penns Valley School Dist. Police Officer saying: “You’re seeing everything that going on nationally. Hopefully our presence will serve as a deterrence. But if the day comes where I need to protect these kids, I’m going to do that. I’m a mother myself. I understand the need to protect these kids.”
Putting armed personnel in School hallways here has raised some concerns. Griffith adding: “We understand there will be individuals who will be apprehensive about the School Police Officers. I would encourage them to reach out to our Officers. We’ve done everything we can to hire the best Officers. I would say get to know them before you pass judgement.”