The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

July 17, 2014

Fourth officer to work in schools

DANVILLE — Danville District 118 school board members voted 6-1 Wednesday to hire a fourth resource officer in the district.

Last month during a special meeting, Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason asked the board whether it would be interested in having an additional school resource officer.

Board members approved having the district enter into an agreement with the city to contract for the additional officer who will be shared between the high school and the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy. The officer also will schedule lessons or presentations at two elementary schools each week. In addition, the two middle school resource officers also will provide a lesson or presentation at an elementary school once a week.

School board president Bill Dobbles cast the dissenting vote.

Superintendent Mark Denman said a fourth officer will help provide a secure and optimum learning environment; provide immediate response in case of crisis; foster positive relationships with students, staff and families; prevent crime or delinquent behavior by juveniles; serve as a resource for staff; support a positive school-law enforcement partnership; and build upon the positive results seen at Danville High School and at North Ridge and South View middle schools.

“We’ve had a successful relationship with the officers,” Denman told the board. “We will be building upon the positive results we’ve seen at the middle schools and at the high school.”

The fourth resource officer is expected to start by December. School administrators will determine how many hours the officer would spend at each school.

Since 2003, DHS has had only one school resource officer, but the building is twice the size of South View and North Ridge middle schools, which have had one resource officer each since 2011. Thomason said resource officers serve as educators, mentors, impromptu counselors and law enforcers. He believes the resource officers have made “a major, positive impact” at the middle schools, reducing the number of expulsions and disciplinary cases in a short period of time.

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