WARE COUNTY, Ga. – Putting a priority on making schools safer, the Ware County School District has added 13 school resource officers to complete its own school police department.
Ware County is the 30th district in Georgia out of 180 to form its own school police department protecting preschools, elementary, middle and high schools. In 2018, officers were only in middle and high schools.
Lt. Kylie Carter is one of the resource officers walking the halls of the 11 schools in Ware County and protecting the 6,100 students in the district.
“It’s awesome. Being proactive, just to make sure we’re doing what we need to do ... to protect these kids,” Carter said.
Superintendent Bert Smith said Ware County is the only district in its region of eight school systems to have a school resource officer in every school. Smith said the officers aren’t just there for safety, but to also create relationships with the students.
“We want to make sure that each and every day our students are coming to school and we are giving our parents assurance that their child will be safe all hours of the day,” Smith said.
Danny Christmas, the chief of police who began his role in May, said the officers range from eight years of experience to 33. There are three firearms instructors, two hostage negotiators and an active shooter instructor.
“Our officers quickly came from working the streets to now being put in the school system. That training helps them learn how to deal with a school environment,” Christmas said.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced in January every public school in the state would receive $30,000 to be spent on security. Smith said there is a meeting scheduled in September to discuss how the money will be spent.