Three school districts in Belmont County that didn’t have a school resource officer, each have one now.
Thanks to an agreement between the Belmont County Commission, the three districts and the sheriff’s department, officers will be at the schools on a full-time basis.
They’ll work in Bellaire, Bridgeport, and at the Belmont Career Center. All three officers are actually Belmont County deputies.
The school districts themselves will each pay their officers’ salaries, and the county commission gave their blessing to have these deputies work at the schools.
They say it’s a win-win situation.
“We’re very concerned about school security in this day and age and one never knows what one is going to find in a school district and in a school setting,” said Bellaire Superintendent Darren Jenkins.
“It is an opportunity for us to put some programming in place throughout the school day, and you know any opportunity for our students to build positive relationships with law enforcement, it’s gonna be a benefit to the community for years,” said Bellaire Middle School Principal Derrick McAffe.
“Today it’s different than it was ten or 15 years ago, and we’re concerned with the safety of students inside the building and who may try to enter the building from outside,” said Richard Schoene, Superintendent of Belmont Harrison Vocational District.
The sheriff made the announcement on Friday at the Belmont County Justice Center, and the resource officers will start immediately.
The Bridgeport resource officer, Harley Johnston, says his grandchildren attend school there, so it will be a smooth transition.
County Commissioners say they were pleased to give their OK to the program.