Three more Oak Ridge Police Department officers are stationed at Oak Ridge High School and Alternative School this year. However, they are not school resource officers, or SROs.
For the past few years, the ORPD has had an SRO who works mostly at the high school. This year, though, a sergeant and two non-patrol officers are also stationed there and at the Alternative School next door, ORPD Chief Jim Akagi said Monday.
School officials had requested more SROs this year, following the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., but funding has been an obstacle. While the new arrangement doesn’t add SROs, it will increase the police presence and visibility, Akagi said.
ORPD School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby will continue to work at the high school. She will be joined by Sgt. Robert Pitts, Photo Enforcement Officer Karen Jenkins, and Community Resource Officer Daniel McFee, who is a former SRO.
On Wednesday, new Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said Akagi approached him with the plan to house a few extra officers at the school.
“It was a win-win opportunity,” Borchers said. “We get an increased presence of police, and they have a space to do their normal work.”
Borchers said Jenkins and Pitts will be stationed at the high school, and McFee will work at the Alternative School.
The Oak Ridge school system once had three SROs: one at the high school and two at each of the middle schools.
City and school officials recently announced they had signed a new agreement governing the SRO program. The seven-page agreement signed Aug. 7 is a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, and it formalizes the relationship between the city and schools.