Chief Alphonzo Williams was hired to lead the department last spring. Since then, he has reorganized to increase the police presence in schools. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin spoke with Chief Williams about his plan for the new year.
As students move into a new school year, the Richmond County Board of Education Police Department is stepping up efforts to stomp out security problems. School Police Chief Alphonzo Williams explains, "we want parents to know that they can send their kids to school, they are going to be safe."
In his first year as BOE Police Chief, Alphonzo Williams has reorganized his staff and added officers to subtract any potential for crime in schools. For starters, seven vacancies were filled making way for two officers at each Richmond County high school.
Officer Ashley Phillips' was one of the new hires. She says, "having kids of my own, I felt that it was important that these kids in high school, elementary school, middle school were safe at all times. I felt like this was my calling."
Her calling is part of the bigger plan by Williams to make sure schools in Richmond County don't have to experience the crisis that left more than twenty children and teachers dead in Newtown, Connecticut. "As part of our realignment we've added an emergency preparedness officer whose duties will consist of checking our site safety plans, exercising emergency drills, making sure that schools are prepared for any type crisis whether it be weather or school violence," says Chief Williams.
The school board approved measurements are aimed at erasing crime one step at a time. Chief Williams adds, "we're going to have more visibility, more presence."
There are also now two officers floating among the 34 elementary schools in Richmond County.
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