APS considering creating its own police force - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

APS considering creating its own police force

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The Newtown, Conn. tragedy has school officials across the country trying to figure out how to increase campus safety. Atlanta Public Schools is considering creating its own independent police force.

While it had considered the idea before, APS will now explore starting its own law enforcement agency.

"We want police officers that are dedicated to our schools that can foster relationships with the students and the community," said APS spokesperson Stephen Alford.

Alford says there are Atlanta police officers working part-time in every middle and high school, but district officials believe they can do better.

"We're confident that we can have a more effective safety and security plan if we have our own police force," Alford said.

Tracey Austin formed the grassroots group Champions 4 Children after seeing the Connecticut tragedy unfold. She has a child in an Atlanta public school and thinks it's a good idea for the district to have its own police force because she doesn't want to see educators with guns.

"I'm against teachers and administrators being armed or serving in a capacity of what a trained law enforcement officer would serve in," Austin said.

School officials say another added benefit of having their own police agency is solidifying the district as an organization.

"If we have our own police force, their goals and objectives will align directly with the goals and objectives of our organization," Alford said.

Atlanta Public Schools will hold its fourth and final school safety forum Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Bolton Academy.

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