Siegelman grants #036;57,150 to Greenville schools

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2001

Governor Don Siegelman awarded $57,150 to two Greenville schools recently. The money is to be used to ensure safety at Greenville High School and Greenville Middle School.

Siegelman notified Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon that the grant had been approved to continue the operation of the School Resource Officer Program and that the money could be used to provide a city police officer for both the high school and middle school. An officer is on duty during school hours currently at both schools to prevent crime and violence.

&uot;Children cannot learn unless we first provide them with a safe school environment,&uot; Siegelman said. &uot;I commend the City of Greenville and the Butler County School System for their efforts and I am pleased to make these funds available.&uot;

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The mayor said he believes it is vital that the school system and city work together for the welfare of the students.

&uot;I think that it's very important for the city and the school system to work together to benefit the kids,&uot; McLendon said. &uot;A lot of things that happen on the street are now happening in schools, and we are happy to be a part of this program and have officers in the schools.&uot;

Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said that the School Resource Officer Program has always been funded by a grant, but that the City of Greenville is thankful that the funding has been provided again.

&uot;We are certainly glad to be funded again, but we are disappointed that every year we are funded less and less,&uot; Ingram said. &uot;In the coming years, we may have to find other ways to help fund the program.&uot;

The program, which provides on-duty officers at Greenville High School and Greenville Middle School around the clock, also provides a truancy officer who works with the school system to keep students in school. Ingram came up with the idea of having a truancy officer, and this aspect was added to the program a few years ago.

Ingram says the officers are regular Greenville police officers who simply dedicate their time to patrolling the schools.

&uot;These police are officers who have been assigned to the schools and 100 percent of their time is dedicated to the schools,&uot; Ingram said.

Ingram said the idea of having police officers on duty at schools was becoming popular when he became chief of the Greenville Police Department, so he and other members of the GPD decided to implement the program in Greenville.

Since that time, the officers have been on-duty at the high school and middle school in order to prevent violence and other crime and to keep students in school.

Governor Siegelman awarded the grant to Greenville from funds provided to the state through a program of the U. S. Justice Department. The grant will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.