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BOE adopted resolution to establish its own police force Tuesday

The Grady County Board of Education took another step toward creating the Grady County Schools Police Department on Tuesday night.
Board members unanimously authorized Chairman John White to execute a resolution calling for the creation of the school system’s police department in accordance with O.C.G.A. §20-8-5, which allows the local board of education to employ law enforcement officers provided they meet certification requirements of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
“Adoption of this resolution is the first thing we have to do. Once we hire the chief, or we can wait until all of the officers are hired, then the POST folks will come down and assist us in organizing the department,” Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said Tuesday.
The superintendent has talked with Ken Vance, executive director of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. “Mr. Vance has been very helpful and is willing to help us in any way,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The board also got its first look at a proposed new policy governing possession of weapons by school system employees.
“We need this policy so our officers may carry weapons on campus. At this time, we are only recommending that our officers be allowed to have weapons on campus and not other system personnel,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The board is expected to discuss its plans for establishing the school system police department at an upcoming board retreat to be held next Monday, Sept. 17.
Over the last couple of years, school system officials have attempted to reach agreements with the City of Cairo and the Grady County Sheriff’s Office to partner with the school system in expanding the number of resource officers.
SRO Duke Donaldson, the lone SRO, is an employee of the City of Cairo, but all of his salary and benefits are paid by the Grady County Board of Education. According to Dr. Gilliard, that expense is approximately $70,000.
The superintendent and the school system Finance Officer Dan Broome project that a budget of $250,000 would cover the salary and benefits of a five-person school district police force.

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