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JCPS furthers plans for safety officers, administrators

The policy committee is holding multiple meetings to quickly draft the districts plan for safety officers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jefferson County Board of Education's Policy Committee met Wednesday to draft school safety policy around new officers, as some lawmakers in Frankfort work to tighten language on the issue. 

"We're following along with what's happening in Frankfort," Superintendent Marty Pollio told WHAS11 News. He first proposed the new plan to the Board of Education last week, adding “a combination of two positions” that will support schools: a safety administrator and a school safety officer.

Pollio called the issue of armed officers in schools "one of the most divisive" in the district. In October of last year, calls to keep armed officers out of schools ended a board meeting early. 

Pollio's latest proposal was met with hesitancy from some board members, who returned to the drafting table Wednesday. 

One issue, raised by chair Dianne Porter, centers around the officers' ability to maintain connections with students. She explained how beneficial existing relationships have been and offered an alternative where officers lock their weapons in their vehicles before entering schools. 

"I am asking that we not take the student relationships away from the staff," she said.

The $4-5 million investment came with feedback from community groups like No More Red Dots (NMRD), working to prevent homicides in Louisville.

"They went over the plan with us," said NMRD founder Dr. Eddie Woods. 

He celebrated the plan and how it reduces the amount of time armed officers spend in schools. But, he criticized a lack of future collaboration. 

"With the work that we do, a lot of times we get a chance to get information on things that might play out in school, so if there is a conduit for us to exchange information along that line it would be a good thing," Woods said.

After the committee meeting Wednesday, Pollio addressed that concern. 

"Safety administrators and SSOs will be people that communicate very well, whether that be LMPD or other organizations to support our students specifically, but in the community as well," said Pollio.

The next Policy Committee meeting to address this plan will take place Monday, Jan. 24. You can access documents from this meeting and subsequent meetings by clicking here. 

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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