The Blue Springs School District has added to its unique police force.
The Blue Springs Board of Education commissioned four police officers Monday. These officers will enforce laws relating to crimes committed on school premises, at school activities and on school buses that are operating within the school district boundaries. The four officers include Michael Hurt, Devin Liles, Derek King and Andrew Lorenson.
The Blue Springs School District is the only district in the state that is allowed to commission its own police force. Former Rep. Gary Dusenberg first introduced a bill in the House of Representatives in 2007 that would have allowed any board of education in the state to commission its own police force. But it was not until 2009 when a bill was finally successful. At that time, it only included Blue Springs.
Officers must follow all district school policies and comply with the memorandum of understanding the district has with each municipal law enforcement agency as well as the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. Any crime that involves a felony, threat or use of force or sexual offense remains under control of the local jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
These additional officers were hired as a result of an increased focus being placed on school security after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Mass., in December. An armed gunman entered the elementary school and killed more than 20 students and teachers before taking his own life.
Blue Springs will hire two additional officers before the start of the 2013-14 school year, bringing the number of policy officers in the Department of Public Safety to 13. The department is housed at the Paul Consiglio Education Center, which serves as a centralized command center for the staff and functions as a hub for the more than 800 video cameras at district facilities.
“We have had several meetings with our security team in the light of the Newtown tragedy,” said Superintendent Paul Kinder. “We want to make sure our schools are as secure as they possibly can be.”