Maries County board members consider adding resource officer

Board members with the Maries County School District are considering funding for a school resource officer in an effort to provide more security.

The proposal is the brainchild of Sheriff Chris Heitman, who said he cherishes the safety of children in the community.

"It's definitely a deterrent," Heitman said. "If you look at the history of school shootings, typically the school shootings take place at places where there are no school resource officers. It gives that first line of defense for schools and also provides a positive relationship with students and law enforcement officers."

Belle Police Chief Tyler Midkiff agreed that an officer in the schools would be a positive thing for students, as well as teachers and parents.

"In a school system, you know some kids don't know how to report the crimes, don't know how...if we get somebody inside the school systems, you know having an available officer to them will get them to learn more about reporting the crimes and taking the natural precautions," Midkiff said.

Superintendent Gary Doerhoff said the issue will be funding for the position. He said he believes in the importance of having one or more officers in his district, because there are 28 school entrances in Belle and another 13 in Bland.

Middle school principal Samantha White said the addition of an officer would help cut down on response time, which tends to be slow in rural areas. She added that her teachers are behind the idea 100 percent.