One Kansas school district is looking at new ways to protect students and staff.
One option is to hire its very own police chief.
The police chief will cover the four schools in the Nickerson-South Hutchinson School District.
Superintendent Dr. Dawn Johnson says they will begin taking applications after Thanksgiving break.
With nearly 320 students at Nickerson High School, safety is the top priority.
“They’re our most prized possession. It’s the kids,” said Christy Riffle, a teacher at the high school. “And, anytime that we can secure things and place safety first, that’s going to be a priority for us.”
Recently, the USD 309 school board voted to hire a police chief to cover the district, a move Dr. Johnson says was motivated by last year’s school shooting in Florida.
“Last year when there was a school shooting of course it came on to our school board that they started talking about safety and security of our students and what we might do to increase our safety and security,” said Dr. Johnson. “Part of our concern is that there’s no police force in town of Nickerson.”
One teacher says having an officer on campus will help with response times.
“If we see something in our building and they’re on the other end, we can make an all call through our phone system,” said Paul Gion, a teacher at the high school. “They will hear it and could respond immediately within 10-15 seconds.”
The position would most likely start in January. And, because it is for a certified law enforcement officer, the individual would be trained to carry a gun, could make arrests and could also give out speeding tickets.”
Dr. Johnson says anyone is welcome to apply, no matter their background.
“We’ll do the vetting process, and if it turns out that that’s not someone that would be a good fit for us then we’ll make those decisions,” she said. “But at this point, I wouldn’t know who anyone is so I wouldn’t want to turn anyone away from doing any discrimination.”
Whoever is hired to lead this new department will be based at Nickerson High School.