FLEMINGSBURG — A search is underway in Fleming County for a police officer who will protect the safety of the school district.
An agreement was made between the Flemingsburg Police Department and the Fleming County School Board to assign a student resource officer, to ensure safety in the school district. Police Chief Brian Bowling said this was an opportunity he was eager to jump on, as he feels very strongly about school safety.
“I’ve talked to the school ever since I took over. We started talking about the possibility of doing that job. I have a lot of interest in that,” Bowling said.
Before becoming chief, Bowling served with the Kentucky State Police where they worked towards the Safe Schools Program. To that end, Bowling and the state police developed active shooter classes for schools.
“Right after we started teaching that, I was one of the first instructors of that,” Bowling said. “So, I started taking a lot of interest in schools and school safety.”
With the recent violent incidents in schools across the nation, there’s been a great push to secure school campuses. Bowling said such incidents aren’t as common as one would think, but school safety should still be top priority.
“Even though they’re publicized as happening a lot, they don’t happen a lot,” he said. “Schools are very safe places, but you need to be prepared.”
Bowling believes the addition of an SRO to the school district would also instill a proper image of a police officer to students.
Before the police department took over, school officers where provided by the Fleming County Sheriff’s office. After the previous officer retired, the school board came to Bowling to discuss terms for employing the police department.
“Since then, we’ve started looking for the right person, of course that’s a hard fit,” Bowling said. “A lot of police officers like policing, they like being in that car by themselves, they like answering calls for service, they like doing all of that stuff.”
The job of SRO, Bowling said, is more of a political and public affairs job that might not fit some police officers. Bowling has taken on a search to find an officer who would best fit the job requirements.
“We’ve advertised on Indeed, we’ve advertised through our Facebook page and stuff like that and we’ve already started to get a lot of people showing some interest in it,” he said. “Some of those folks are really unique candidates — there are some pretty good folks in that mixture, so I’m very hopeful that we can find the right person.”
Searching for a candidate is still an ongoing endeavour for Bowling. He said he’s grateful for the school board for offering the opportunity to serve the community in such a way.
“It’s a great big commitment on the part of the schools, because they’ve only got limited resources and so they’ve got to figure out the best place to spend their money, and I’m glad that they feel like this is a worthwhile effort,” he said.