Protecting schools: City to provide resource officer at Hope Academy

Published 8:10 pm Friday, July 27, 2018

The LaGrange City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to provide a law enforcement officer for Hope Academy at the request of the Troup County School System. 

The position is funded by the school system, and no council members spoke against the proposal in the meeting or the work session earlier in the day.

“We currently have an agreement with the board of education to provide security at three of our schools, and they would like to add another school to this,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said. “The school system does pay us for this.”

The City of LaGrange provides school resource officers at LaGrange High School, Troup High School and Gardner Newman Middle School. Schools outside the LaGrange city limits, like Callaway High School, have school resource officers from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office. According to Kelsey, the possibility of adding a school resource officer at Hope Academy was discussed last year, but TCSS did not move forward with the request at that time. However, according to officials, the school still received some law enforcement presence during the 2017-2018 school year.

“We have provided limited exposure for some officers to go in there and do walk arounds, but they want a more consistent presence there,” LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar said. “This is consistent with the agreement that we have had in the past where they pay the full salary, and we provide the uniforms, the weapons, the vehicles.”

Dekmar said that the agreement also benefits the city by allowing it to have another trained officer on staff when school is not in session.

The school resource officer is expected to begin work at Hope Academy in August. The LaGrange City Council will meet again on Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.