School Board discusses new security officers in schools

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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On Tuesday at the Troup County School Board work session, School Safety Coordinator Steve Heaton presented an informal proposal to improve security in schools while saving time and money for the school system. 

Heaton proposed the idea of outsourcing security officers from a local security company to help make up for the lack of retention among the school system’s designated officers. He also expressed his concern about being unable to find new candidates for the vacant security positions. 

“We have a lot of money invested in time and staff, and we’ve sent out employment notices at least two cycles since November, and we’ve gotten nothing out of it,” Heaton said. “Nobody wants to do those jobs, so what I propose is we outsource the campus security officer positions to a security company.”

Heaton explained that out of the most recent hiring cycle for the previous year, 11 officers were hired with one officer assuming a floating position. Of the 10 regularly scheduled officers, 50% of them left their positions for varying reasons, leaving Heaton to find replacements quickly.

“Some of them became teachers, and we had a couple of them who decided that it wasn’t safe up in front of the school monitoring devices, so they decided to resign,” Heaton said. “As a matter of fact, I still have three openings.”

For each hiring cycle, security officers are put through mandatory training and must fill out paperwork with the human resources department. Heaton said the recent overturn of officers has begun putting a toll on staff with training cycles lasting approximately 44 hours alone, not including interviewing, paperwork and other onboarding tasks. 

By outsourcing security officers, Heaton says a security company would be able to take the responsibilities of hiring, training and scheduling new officers. 

During the meeting, Heaton also said that he had recently received a proposal from Synergy, a local security company that also secures the LaGrange College campus. According to Heaton, the cost of hiring security through Synergy would be more cost-effective than directly hiring officers. 

“The amount that they pay their officers is a little less than what we pay our officers, so we would actually come out just a bit cheaper,” Heaton said. “For three officers for 190 days, it would be about $7000 cheaper.” 

After hearing the proposal, Troup County School System Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate Heaton conduct a formal proposal with more information for the board at next month’s meeting.

“I’d like for Mr. Heaton to move forward with a formal proposal to the board in February where he can come forward with a professional contract with some numbers to it,” Shumate said. “I think it’s a great idea, and I think he spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find these people along with training.”