The Horry County, SC school board approved 18 armed security officers who will patrol the 15 schools that Horry County police previously patrolled as well as three new schools scheduled to be open by next year.
According to a Myrtle Beach Online report, the security officers in the schools would have arresting authority on school property. Unlike police officers, they would operate at the disposal of the school district, the report says.
Board member John Poston said that safety and security is the “upmost importance” in Horry County Schools, the article noted.
“One thing that we know in our school district is the safety and security is not just an individual officer or individual person, whether it be a security officer or SRO,” said Poston. “Safety and security is part of a team effort. It comes from the vision of the board of education handed down through our administration, rolled out through out teachers and even in our students. It’s a culture that we build in horry County schools.”
The district already has budgeted $801,000 in the 2017-18 budget for all SROs, including $592,000 for officers at the schools that Horry County police would have patrolled this year: the amount budgeted for the officers under the previous agreement with the county.
The district began looking at private security options after the county in March abandoned a long-standing agreement to split the cost of school resource officers’ salaries, and most recently asked for more than $1.6 million to patrol the schools.