The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 31, 2013

EPS expects to hire 3rd officer for campus police department

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools has a campus police department currently made up of two officers.

The campus police department was established several years ago with funding from a grant. Since grant funds dried up, the school district has paid expenses related to the campus police department.

Last school year, the campus police department, housed at Enid High School but responsible for springing to action when criminal activity occurs at any school, consisted of three officers.

When not responding to criminal activity, the officers get to know the high school students and relate to them, playing a sometimes mentor-like role in their lives.

City police can be summoned to a school if needed.

“It benefits us to have our three officers, but it doesn’t preclude us from doing normal business with the Enid Police Department,” said Shawn Hime, EPS superintendent.

Although the middle schools and high school probably are the most likely locations for criminal activity by students to occur, campus police can be needed at elementary schools for scenarios such as custody issues between parents, said Amber Fitzgerald, human resources and communications director for EPS.

The size of the campus police department temporarily is down since July, when one officer was terminated, but the school district expects to hire a replacement officer early in the fall. Before a new officer is hired, a review of policies and procedures for the campus police department is being done.

Principals at Enid High School, Emerson Middle School, Longfellow Middle School and Waller Middle School currently are working together on a review of policies and procedures for the campus police department.

“The gist of that is, we are not overextending them with things that should be done by administrators and teachers,” Hime said.

The school district is seeing if roles and responsibilities given to the officers are appropriate, or if some of the duties expected from them in the past need to be shifted to others.

That review is part of a district-wide review of the entire organization done every five years, said Amber Fitzgerald.

“It’s really no different for the campus police than it is for the rest of the organization,” Fitzgerald said.

“We anticipate having three officers again in the future,” Hime said.

Norman Public Schools, twice the size of Enid Public Schools, has two campus police officers, Hime pointed out.