MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) – A new safety tool for the Marshall Illinois School District is actually a person! Marshall Schools will have a school resource officer starting this Fall. He'll be responsible for all four schools in the district.
As it turns out, the Marshall school district used to have an SRO. That was the current Chief, Chris Smithson. However, he says he was in place because of a grant. When money ran out, the school didn't have its officer anymore.
The chief says there have been good relations with the school after that partnership ended. He says officers typically made daily trips to the school. But, there was room for a more persistent presence.
News 10 spoke with Warren LeFever. He's a town alderman, who voted to put an SRO in place. He says it's a good move for student safety. That's because the officer is armed, and that adds resistance to an active shooter.
However, LeFever feels more intense mental health screening needs put in place in school systems.
LeFever says, "After all, we're talking about children's lives, and children's lives are a lot more important than political correctness or anything like that."
News 10 spoke with Marshall High School Senior Mitchell Garrett about the addition of an SRO to campus. He says he’s all in favor of the move.
Garrett shares, "It makes me feel proud of my school and my town because they care about the students and how they feel and what they want to do in life, they want to protect, and get them far in life. It makes me feel safer that someone's always going to be there from bell to bell every day protecting us."
So who's filling the role of school resource officer for Marshall, Illinois Schools? His name is Officer Stacey Speros. Chief Smithson says he's actually in SRO training this week.
Smithson says Speros has been with the department since 2001. But, Speros has a longer history with the city, having lived there all his life. The chief says Speros volunteered for the position.
Speros will officially start his SRO duties in August, and as mentioned, he’ll serve all four Marshall schools.