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The Junction City School District made a move Tuesday night to echo one that’s been gaining popularity across the country for the last few years.

At the school board meeting, members voted to hire a part-time school resource officer (SRO) to start at the school as soon as possible. This is following a decision made over the summer by the Parkers Chapel school board to also hire a part-time SRO.

Superintendent Robby Lowe said the conversation of hiring one came from the current countrywide conversations about school safety and the recommendations of the Arkansas School Safety Commission.

Three officers with the Junction City Police Department have signed up to take turns spending time at the schools. An officer will be on campus an average of 15 hours a week, but sometimes more or less depending on need and officer availability.

When an officer will be on campus will change week to week. Lowe said they’ll be changing the time of day and days of the week students will be seeing their SRO. He also said that even when there isn’t an officer on campus, there’s one stationed not too far away if there is an emergency.

“Part of this is so that if somebody does come to the school with malicious intent, they don’t necessarily know if there’s an SRO on campus or not,” Lowe said.

The officer will wear their uniform and be armed when they’re on campus, which will make them easily identifiable by students and teachers. When an officer comes to campus, they’ll check in at both the high school and elementary school offices before going near the classrooms. The school will be paying the officer their hourly rate when on campus, which is $20 an hour.

Lowe said the concept of SROs came up when the Arkansas School Safety Commission visited JCSD on Friday, but that he and local officers were already working on setting something up. He said this is about safety on campus and it will also hopefully get the students comfortable around the officers.

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.

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