New Albany Elementary School has more than 1,300 students, faculty and staff at the school every school day, but does not have a city police officer at the school.
That’s not a misprint. The Board of Alderman has failed for years to budget for a school resource officer at New Albany Elementary even though a majority of the city school population is there. The high school, middle school and alternative school all have school resource officers that are regular city police officers.
Superintendent Jackie Ford said the school board had volunteered to pay half the cost of a school resource officer because the Board of Trustees thinks it is important, but the city so far has not agreed to finance the other half.
Fortunately, that may change. New Police Chief Chris Robertson said he thinks having an officer at the school is a priority and he plans to save enough money through a retirement to phase in an officer at the school by Jan. 1.
“Mr. Ford and I are in agreement about its importance, but I’ve been told by the city that the budget is tight and it was unlikely I could get a new position,” the chief said.
We think having a police officer at the school not only provides security, but also creates a good first experience for children with police. It’s importance cannot be overstated.
We think January is too long to wait. The Board of Aldermen should add enough money to the police budget to pay for a new position until January.
In light of recent events nationally, the current situation is shocking. It should be fixed now.