Newton-Conover Schools partner with police - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Newton-Conover Schools partner with police

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CATAWBA CO., NC (WBTV) -

In an effort to beef up security at two of its elementary schools, the Newton-Conover School system has entered into what they are calling a "unique partnership" with the Newton Police Department.

The department will have a branch office at each of the schools that any officer can use at any time of the day whether school is in session or not.

"Twenty four officers will have keys and they will have access to the schools whenever they want," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Stegall.

The officers will be encouraged to interact with the children and even eat lunch with them, when time allows it. Sgt. D.T. Harris was making the rounds at Thornton Elementary on Monday.

Thornton and South Newton Elementary Schools are the first to be a part of the program. Harris says it will be useful to have an office.

"Right now, basically, my patrol car is my office but here I have some extra legroom and it will be better to work in."

Harris said the environment will be perfect for officers to catch up on paperwork and other things they need to do, in addition to watching over the school.

The officers will be armed while on the school grounds and hope that will be a deterrent to any wrongdoing.

"This is not a school resource officer type of thing," said Thornton Principal Tammy Brown.

She hopes it will take that program forward by another step or two. Since 24 officers will have keys she said it will be good for the children to see and get to know different officers.

"In a School Resource Officer program the children only get to see one officer," she said. In this situation they will get to know a lot of them."

It is critical, she thinks, for the school children to have many role models to look up to and this new program will help do that.

School officials say the idea of satellite police offices in the schools could expand to other elementary schools in the future. "We are working on it," said Dr. Stegall.

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