The Beebe Police Department will open a new substation on a public school campus Friday as a part of an effort prompted by recent violence in schools nationwide.
Rick Duff, assistant superintendent of the Beebe School District, said the idea for the substation came to him after a recent spate of school violence including the mass shooting on Valentine's Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the shooting at Sante Fe High School in Texas.
The new substation will allow officers to complete paperwork and other duties at the substation, as opposed to traveling back to the main station, which Beebe Police Department Capt. Brian Duke said will create a stronger police presence on campus.
The Arkansas State Police, too, will have a satellite office in the building, where Duke said two local troopers can report.
Duke said in a news release that Beebe is one of only a handful of departments across the state to have a station on a school campus.
Duff said the little building at the entrance of the school district's main campus -- which houses a high school, primary school and the district office -- once held in-school suspension students, but became empty after in-school suspension was moved to the high school.
"The good thing, where it's located on Center Street runs right in front of the school," said Chris Nail, superintendent of the school district. "Anyone who passes by or comes to the school, they'll see police cars out there every day."
Duke said the district replaced the flooring and repainted the building and connected the campus's camera system to a 65-inch monitor that will allow officers to monitor the school from one location.
A news release from the Beebe Police Department said the substation could also serve as the office of the patrol sergeant or as a backup dispatch center "should the need ever arise."
The Beebe campus already had two school resource officers -- armed officers placed on school grounds to respond to campus threats or disturbances -- and the substation will not add any definitive number of officers to the campus at any time, Duke said.
"First and foremost, there will be a presence of officers," Duke said. "[Students] will see marked units on campus more often then they have in the past. With all the violence happening on campuses, I'm sure school officials are constantly worried about it -- I know I am. I have kids there."
Duff said though few safety concerns were raised in reference to the substation, the district is taking precautions to ensure that the substation is secure at all times.
"With all the unfortunate circumstances taking place across the nation, we were thinking about what we need to do to make our students safe," Duff said. "From there, they can supervise who's coming in and off campus but also be able to respond faster if something does come up."
Duke said the Police Department will never bring arrested or detained individuals to the campus substation.
Metro on 07/31/2018
Print Headline: Beebe police put station at schools; increased officer presence a response to mass shootings