Brewton schools to get new resource officers

Published 1:08 am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In the wake of last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., officials have been looking for ways to prevent that kind of horrific incident from happening here.

The Brewton Police Department will step up its security in local schools by adding two more armed resource officers — one at Brewton Middle School and one at Brewton Elementary School. They join Sgt. Hal Parker, who has been assigned to T.R. Miller High School for more than two years.

The cost will be shared by the city and the schools.

Police Chief Monte McGougin said the response was not needed because of anything that happened locally, but was a response to national incidents.

“This is in no way a response to any local problem,” McGougin said. “This is strictly as a result of concerns raised by national events and is a preventive measure locally.”

Officer Heath Madison will begin duty at Brewton Middle School and Capt. James Hicks will be assigned to Brewton Elementary.

McGougin said the officers will be present anytime school is in session, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Madison will also serve as the city’s drug abuse awareness officer at Brewton Middle School.

Superintendent Lynn Smith was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

County schools also have resource officers provided by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department.

Statewide, Sen. Marc Keahey said legislation has been proposed that would put officers in schools, but he said the plan could be expensive.

“There’s some legislation that’s been filed regarding putting some type of law enforcement at each school,” Keahey said. “I think that’s a step in the right direction, but it would cost $122 million.