The Cobb School Board today will consider approving a $530,000 contract with Hardy Chevrolet Inc. of Dallas and Akin Ford Corp. of Winder to purchase 17 marked police cars for the school district’s 38 campus officers who serve 112 schools.
Funding would come from SPLOST III.
Ron Storey, the director of public safety in Cobb Schools, said the purchase of these 17 cars is the first phase of his department’s plan to help resource officers respond better to safety problems.
“Initially, we will have one marked vehicle available for officers assigned to each high school and an additional car for supervisory personnel providing support across the county,” Storey said Tuesday.
Each car, which will come to about $31,000 each, will be outfitted with blue lights and will be clearly marked with the public safety insignia. Maintenance for the fleet will be provided by the district’s transportation department.
Storey said each officer now uses his or her personal car to drive to and from work and between campuses, but is reimbursed for mileage. They are paid 51 cents per mile, but information about how many total miles were reported by the department last school year was not available at press time Tuesday.
“This model of operations is not ideal for appropriate emergency response and is a liability for the district and our supportive community law enforcement agencies,” the director said.
School Board Chair Randy Scamihorn said he has mixed feelings about the purchase.
“But I have been reassured that in today’s climate of societal issues, that these cars are needed not only for rapid response but for also transporting any necessary individuals,” he said. “And it was voted on in SPLOST III so I’m going to be willing to try it.”
And if the cars don’t work out as planned, Scamihorn suggested that maybe they be used in another department later on.
These will not be the first cars purchased for the public safety department.
District spokesman Doug Goodwin said there are a “few” cars already used by department personnel, including a K-9 vehicle for Sgt. Mike Rolfe, but he was not able to get the exact number of cars before press time.
A resource officer’s duties entail enforcing state and local laws and the school district’s policies while on campuses.
There is one officer at each of the 16 high schools, additional officers for each middle school clusters and at elementary schools as needed.
Storey said their officers also work closely with the county and city police agencies when responding to criminal activity on school campuses, and that the Sheriff’s Office serves warrants and transports suspects.