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How One Elementary School Added an Armed Police Officer -- at Zero Cost to Taxpayers


“I’d rather be here and not be needed, than be needed and not be here."

Image source: NBC News

Putting armed police officers in schools has been a repeat topic of conversation following the Newtown, Conn. massacre, as has the question of how to pay for them without shifting the extra cost on to taxpayers.

One South Carolina elementary school has solved that issue quite simply -- giving their community police officer a desk and letting him set up shop right there on campus at Plain Elementary.

“I’d rather be here and not be needed, than be needed and not be here,’’ Simpsonville police officer Justin Chandler told NBC's "Today."

Chandler takes care of all of his administrative duties at Plain, then gets up and patrols the halls.

“All I needed from the school is a desk and Wi-Fi,’’ he said. “We said it’s a no-brainer. When we got down to brass tacks with it, it didn’t cost a dime.’’

According to Today, response from parents has been universally positive. School principal Debbie Mihalic said she never anticipated the benefits having a school police officer on campus all day would bring.

“I feel safer,’’ Mihalic said. “I never thought that actually having an officer at (Plain) Elementary would be that valuable, but now that he’s here, I don’t want him to leave.’’

Plain Elementary isn't alone -- according to the Simpsonville Patch, three other schools in the region have similar police officer arrangement in place, as do schools in Jordan, Minn., according to NBC.

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