Deputies used to increase security at GCT

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The GCTSchool district recently employed two new School Resource Officers through theGreene County Sheriff's Department.

Though the role of SRO is new forSgt. Tony Harris, he's not unfamiliar with the GCT School Community.

"I actually have fourchildren in this school district. I have a wife that teaches in this schooldistrict," Harris said.

Harris told Region 8 News thatthose who've been a part of getting the SRO Program into the schools areinvested in it. Meaning ensuring school safety a community wide effort.

"We have all the resourceswe need at our fingertips," Harris said.

Their first week in, SergeantsHarris and Rick Mellow have been getting  accustomed to their new roles.They've been getting to know students through interacting with them in thehalls and meeting with them in assemblies this week.

"The upper levels, they tendto shy away from you the first of the week," Harris explained. "Thelower grades, they're great. They love to know we're there. We've had so manyof them hug us, shake our hands, 'thank you for being here.'"

Each and every day, they'll beworking to make sure the campus is safe and secure.

"We're making sure of coursethat the building is locked down and safe, making sure students are where theyneed to be...looking for anything out of the ordinary," he explained.

Sgt. Harris and Sgt. Mellow willtravel between each of the district's campuses on a daily basis. However, theirschedule will not be made public as to which school they'll be at and when.

High school student, Morgan Toddsays having officers in the schools is reassuring.

"I don't think that he camehere just to scare us. He's here to protect us. And if we put that in our mindsthat it makes things a little easier on us," Todd said.

Which, in turn, Harris hopes willmake it easier for students to use these officers as another resource to talkwith if they need to.

"This has been a long timecoming here. I'm glad to be a part of it," Harris said.

Thursday night, the district held a community meeting for parentsto voice their safety concerns. GCT School superintendent, Jerry Noble toldparents that in the future, they hope to get more resource officers for theircampuses.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.