LAKEVIEW — The tragic shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 has left many schools nationwide reviewing their own safety policies — including Lakeview.
Officials from the Lakeview Police Department, Lakeview Community Schools and the village of Lakeview have been in talks to review current emergency plans and procedures and to explore additional security measures in the Lakeview school district.
Officer Dave Mack was previously a part-time school resource officer, acting as a liaison between Lakeview Community Schools and the Lakeview Police Department from February 2009 to later that year when the position was eliminated due to school budget cuts. Mack has since been promoted to a full-time police officer in the village of Lakeview.
“It appears there is now a strong desire to bring back the school resource officer position,” said Lakeview Village Manager James Freed. “We are currently finalizing the details of an agreement for this position, which we expect to bring before the village council and school board in January for consideration. This position would be part-time and would provide coverage for the remaining 22 weeks of the school year.”
When a drafted agreement is finalized, the school board and village council will review it before voting on whether to approve it.
“The new agreement will parallel the old agreement extremely closely,” Freed said.
Lakeview Community Schools Superintendent Kyle Hamlin said he witnessed the value of a school resource officer firsthand when he was the middle school principal in 2009.
“The tragedy in (Newtown) Connecticut certainly played a role in our most recently conversations,” Hamlin said. “Our administrative team believed it was an important step in reassuring our families that we are taking every precaution to ensure student safety and school security.”
Hamlin said benefits of having a school resource officer would include assisting the school with preventing delinquent behavior, improving the relationship between local youth and the Lakeview Police Department, having a resource person for staff and students, advising school administrators in the establishment of policy, rules and regulations in areas of mutual concern to the school and police department and attending after-school functions as the officer’s schedule permits to help establish a positive atmosphere in the school district.
Hamlin said he is currently exploring a multi-year grant that would fund 75 percent of the school resource officer’s salary and benefits.