MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Nine additional school resource officers will be assigned to Mount Pleasant public elementary schools beginning on Monday.
Mount Pleasant Police Inspector Chip Googe issued a statement Monday afternoon:
Mount Pleasant Town Council, in response to recent school-related violence, has directed the expansion of police presence in Mount Pleasant schools. In accordance with this direction the Mount Pleasant Police Department has expanded officer assignments to provide a full-time presence in all public elementary schools as well as Oceanside Academy. These officers are not being reassigned from other duties but are working in these schools as an off-duty type assignment until other staffing options can be budgeted. Although the district officers were frequent visitors to the schools as part of their patrol duties these full-time officer assignments re-affirm the importance of school security to the Town of Mount Pleasant.
Mayor Will Haynie and Town Council announced their decision on Friday to enhance the SRO program.
"Security is job one when you're a local government," Haynie said. "There was really no debate about doing this."
The town already had eight school resource officers assigned to its schools, but now the town's SRO program has more than doubled.
Haynie said the town's decision to add more SROs to elementary schools comes after several local security threats and national school shootings.
"Having this extra layer of security is such a comfort for me as a principal here, as well as I know it is for the parents and the students," Jennie Moore Elementary School Principal Karen Felder said.
Members of the Charleston County School Board said they are also excited by the news of increased security on Mount Pleasant elementary school campuses.
"I think it sends a message that our students, our teachers, our school family is safe," Charleston County School District Board Member Chris Staubes said.
The school resource officers will offer more than just security on campuses. All officers are also trained to counsel students and provide regular safety training and instruction.
"The extra officers will enhance our already strong School Resource Officer Program by increasing our presence within all schools in our community," Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie said.