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January 23, 2013

Resource officer on duty at Clarksville schools

School board, town council give OK for one officer to serve three schools

CLARKSVILLE — A school resource officer was approved for Clarksville Community Schools by its board of trustees and the Clarksville Town Council on Tuesday.

Superintendent Kim Knott said the “nuances” in the contract that prevented its approval at the board’s Jan. 15 meeting — indemnification and the payment schedule from the district to the town — were worked out.

Jim Bemiss, board member, said he’s glad the district and the town were able to come to an agreement on the contract, especially in light of recent school shootings nationwide.

“It’s obvious to me ... that this is a great addition to our staff,” Bemiss said. “It’s just that the times dictate that we do this and I think it’s good for our kids. And I think it will have a lot of other positive effects other than just having an officer in the building.”

Officer Michael Popplewell with the Clarksville Police Department will serve all three schools in the district starting Jan. 25. The district will pay about $38,000 per school year to partially fund his salary with the town picking up the rest of the tab.

The Clarksville Town Council approved the measure unanimously. Council president Bob Polston said discussion about school safety is ongoing and began even before the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

With the conditions that are going around the country today at schools, we just thought that we probably should [address] some safety concerns,” Polston said. “That’s what we did.”

Doug Wacker, board member, said he’s glad to see the contract approved.

“You know I have been a strong advocate of this,” Wacker said. “I think it will serve Clarksville schools well and I appreciate all the work from Chief [Mark] Palmer and Dr. Knott in getting this done, getting the training done and getting the school resource officer for our school.”

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