More police on patrol at Branson Schools

Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 3:41 PM CST
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More police officers are on patrol at Branson Schools.

For the first time, the district now has an officer on-site at the Cedar Ridge campus and it will also soon have one at Buchanan.

School leaders say the goal is to have a police officer at every campus. That not only helps with student safety, but also building relationships between the police and kids.

While Officer Corey Hodzic is new to the Cedar Ridge campus, he's been a patrol officer since 2014. His assignment now includes everything from patrolling the parking lots to setting a positive example for little ones.

"He was nice and [kind]," Six-year-old Zoey said.

Branson Schools already have school resource officers at the High School and Junior High through a partnership with the City of Branson. However, the other two campuses will now be covered, too.

"We are always trying to make strides to improve our safety and the well-being of our students, so that's priority one," Superintendent Dr. Brad Swofford said.

The two new school resource officer positions are funded fully by the Public Safety Sales Tax, which voters passed in 2017.

"It was part of our commitment to the community, that if they pass this tax, we would do certain things and this is one of those things," Sgt. Stanley Kauffman said.

Officer Hodzic will receive specialized training to work at the school, as well.

"The school resource officers have to go through, basically, a school resource training academy in the summer," Sgt. Kauffman said.

He'll learn more techniques for things like de-escalation, counseling, and mentoring. All while teaching kids about the job of protecting and serving.

The officer started at Cedar Ridge on January 22. In February, the other officer will start at Buchanan.