School resource officers in the Ozarks reassure efforts to keep your kids safe

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 3:39 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 4:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Nerves remain raw after a string of hoax calls of shootings in local schools.

School Resource Officers in the Ozarks want to ensure kids are safe. School leaders said safety is their highest priority. They said they treat every threat as if it is real.

Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Stephen Hall, and Nixa Schools Police Chief Eric Hartsell, said they want to ensure every student is confident they’ll be safe in their classrooms.

“It has been an ongoing priority of the district to make sure that we increase school police officer presence on our campuses,” said Hall.

“We’re here to build relationships with the students and the staff, so they know that they can come to us for safety,” said Chief Hartsell.

This past week in the Ozarks, false reports of active shooters scared everyone. Springfield and Nixa Schools want parents to know they will do everything for their kids’ safety.

“Make sure everybody’s prepared,” said Chief Hartsell. “We’re not going to treat it any different than we would have the real situation.”

“We continually look at our plans. We continually update them,” said Hall.

Hall said at SPS, they have 28 school resource officers. Each high school and middle school has a designated officer. While officers routinely patrol the elementary schools.

“We’ve added actually five additional school police officers over the last year,” said Hall.

At Nixa Schools, Chief Hartsell said they have seven officers.

An officer is assigned to each building in the district, and they go on patrol.

“We’re not too far away. We’re not very hard to find. We’re around all the time,” said Chief Hartsell.

Both school districts have their police forces commissioned by the school board. School leaders said they are always looking into adding more.

“You can never have enough for safety,” said Chief Hartsell.

“Staffing is always an ongoing consideration,” said Hall.

Both Hall and Chief Hartsell said they are prepared if anything ever happens.

“We are going to make sure that that the building is safe, we are gonna make sure the staff is safe, no matter what,” said Chief Hartsell. “If it’s fake, real, it’s all going to be safe.”

“We want approachability to be at the heart of every relationship so that if a student has a question or a concern, they’re able to reach out to the adult that’s closest to them,” said Hall.

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