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Police presence to increase in schools

After the December 2012 massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece immediately wanted to increase the police presence in the local schools. After meeting with Johnson County Superintendent of Schools, Morris Woodring, the decision was made to place an additional officer to rotate among the seven schools. “I wanted him in every school every day,” said Reece. “I think it’s my responsibility to keep these schools safe.”
As the new school year opening day loomed ahead, Reece once again met with Woodring to implement a plan to help keep the students in each of the schools safe. Despite the fact that every school is secured with locked doors, cameras and visitors must be buzzed in, Reece wanted to offer more security. “We have to try to keep these kids safe,” he said.
Officer Mark Gladden will remain at the high school, middle school and the career and technical center. An officer will have a presence in every elementary school, including Mountain City, every school day. There will not be a set time they visit the schools. Not only will they be there to keep an eye on what is happening in the schools, but they will interact with the principals, staff and students while observing what is happening in and around the schools. Reece is hopeful the presence of a police force will make a positive impact on the lives of the students. “It’s good for the kids to see them there,” said Reece.