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Priceville, MCSO to sponsor school officer

The Town of Priceville and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department are joining forces to provide a school resource officer for the town’s three schools.

At Thursday’s regular council meeting, the town council unanimously approved a request from Sheriff Ana Franklin to pay half of the officer’s salary and supply a vehicle for the officer to use.

In return, Franklin said her department would cover the other half of the salary and provide training and certification courses for the new officer.

Priceville Police Chief Billy Peebles said he thinks it’s a great idea, especially since Franklin said the officer would be available to help with school traffic control.

“Having a school resource officer at the schools will be a great asset to our schools,” Peebles said. “When we got a call in the past, we always had to leave the school. Now the school resource officer will be able to stay at the school when we get a call. And having another officer to help with traffic is an added asset.”

Franklin said adding a school resource officer at Brewer and Danville made a big difference this year, adding that it was the right decision to pull two officers off patrol to create these positions.

“It has helped us so much to have our guys on the school campus,” Franklin said. “It frees us up from having to respond to the school when there was a problem. Now the officer is on campus and can deal with any problems.”

She also believes the officers have also helped cut down on bullying, created good role models for the students to follow and gave students someone to go to if they needed to talk.

“It’s been wonderful for Danville and Brewer,” said Morgan County School Superintendent Bill Hopkins. “And adding another officer here in Priceville is great.”

Mayor Melvin Duran said the town is looking to purchase another police vehicle for its animal control officer. When they purchase the new vehicle, the old vehicle will be donated to the county for the school resource officer’s use.

Franklin said the new employee would be a retired officer, which is the reason why the person could not make more than $25,000.

“We’re going to find that right person,” Franklin said. “We’re not rushing into this.”

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