Washington County sheriff calls for daily law enforcement presence at schools

February 16, 2018 07:38 PM

FORT ANN - A local sheriff says there are steps schools can take right away to make kids safer.

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy says it's time to bring back D.A.R.E.-type officers who are in school day in and day out.

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Fort Ann has 500 students in grades K through 12.

Senior girls were being taught self-defense by two Washington County sheriff's deputies on Friday.

In addition to showing kids how to fight off aggressors, when the schedule allows, a patrolling deputy tries to stop by the school once a day.

However, that's not enough says Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy.

"It's not the same as having an officer there every day," explained Murphy.

He says after the school shooting in Florida, now is the time to act and he thinks he has the solution that will work for the schools in his county.

Murphy sent a letter to superintendents in Washington County telling them it's time to have properly trained officers on site every day.

Murphy tells the school leaders that all the training, planning and drills are necessary, but they're no substitute for having police there when they're needed.

"One thing I know we're missing is someone already there, us having an officer already there," he explained.

Murphy calls on schools to find the funding to bring back D.A.R.E. type officers or resource officers who can interact with and protect kids every day.

Kevin Froats is the Fort Ann School superintendent. He likes the idea, but says he has to fight for every dollar and hopes that state or federal funding will help pay for having an armed officer at his school.

"I think now is the time that people need to do what's right for the students within our communities to keep them safe," he asserted.


Mark Mulholland

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