Grant to help Pine Belt schools beef-up campus security

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Board of Education approved $1.57 million to place 157 trained officers in public schools in 50 districts around the state on Friday.
Thanks to Lieutenant Tate Reeves proposed Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services Grant (MCOPS), several Mississippi schools will receive funds to place trained law enforcement officers on campuses. Several schools in the Pine Belt area were approved for the grant, including Lamar County.

"For Lamar County it was a hundred-thousand dollars administered through the Mississippi Department of Education, but it was appropriated by the legislature, so we're very appreciative to our lieutenant governor for the idea and appreciative that the legislature would appropriate the money," said Lamar County School District Superintendent Ben Burnett.

Thanks to the grant, the school district now has two additional law enforcement officers.

"We applied for the grant for ten-thousand dollars for each of the existing officers that we have, eight sworn officers and for two additional officers to assign them at two other campuses," said Director of Public Safety Steve Rosser.

The officers will not only secure the schools, but also be involved in various campus activities.

"They're involved heavily in the safety training with the faculty and revising and updating safety plans at the campuses working with the administrations there to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep our students and our staff and our visitors who come to our campuses safe," said Rosser.

Aside from Lamar County, other school districts such as Lumberton, Laurel, Petal and Hattiesburg will also receive grant money to resource officers.

"Our biggest mission is to keep everybody safe and we feel like that this is just one more thing that we can do with the extra security measures that we've taken over the years," said Burnett. "This is just one more measure that we can take."

To view all districts who received MCOPS grant, click HERE.

Copyright 2013 WDAM. All rights reserved.