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Public N. Charleston elementary schools to receive police presence

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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

North Charleston public elementary schools will soon receive the additional security of permanently posted police officers.

North Charleston City Council agreed Thursday to place a police officer in all public elementary schools in the city.

In a press conference held earlier this week, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said he would ask council members to hire full time police officers for elementary schools.

"Thursday night at council, I'll be requesting they authorize me to hire 21 police officers," Summey said on Tuesday. "A very expensive proposition that will give us the opportunity to put a full time police officer in every elementary school in the City of North Charleston."

Summey estimates the cost of hiring the new officers will be $2 million the first year, with the cost dropping to $1.5 million the following year.

A spokesperson at the mayor's office says the city will be looking to hire certified police officers to speed up the process.

As it stands right now, SROs or school resource officers are stationed only at North Charleston high schools and middle schools.  Sgt. Kathi Love of the North Charleston Police Department said officers can provide additional security, as well as build a rapport with students.

"I think it's always important to teach that at the younger age - that the police [aren't] always there to arrest," Sgt. Love said.  "It's important for kids to know that we're there for everything."

The addition of police officers in North Charleston elementary schools comes in the wake of the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, December 14. Police say 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff members at the school.

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