DAYTON -- Police Chief Donnie Conley has all seven of his officers all day at Dayton's schools. That decision came in response to a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 people dead.
“We're more about the deterrent factor than just sitting back and seeing if something does happen,” said Conley, “I'm sure other locations like Columbine and Virginia Tech never thought it would happen at their schools as well.”
Conley said the schedule leaves officers with less time to patrol the community, which is why he wants Dayton's town council to approve hiring another officer to boost security.
“We not only want to be seen here at the schools and keep our students here, but we also want to continue to do the other projects that we do out in the community of Dayton.”
He also wants students, like 8th grader Rachel, to be comfortable coming to an officer with problems or questions. That can help build relationships between officers and students who see them at school.
“It's comforting to know. Everyone's been like, yeah, I feel a little bit safer about this. It's just easier coming to school,” said Rachel.
Conley wants to complete school resource officer training with his officers. He said keeping violence out of Dayton's schools is a priority for his department.
“We're just determined that our schools are going to be safe in the town of Dayton,” said Conley.
Staunton City Schools has one resource officer, Waynesboro has two and Harrisonburg City Schools have three. Most of these officers have training as a police officer.
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