I’ve gotten this question a few times over the years from people who don’t have a familiarity with things in our district. Even as a Putnam City person, you might have wondered why it’s called a “city” if it isn’t really one. We don’t have our own mayor or city council, there’s no trash service in Putnam City, but we do have our own police force charged with keeping our children safe in all aspects of their education on our campuses. I was excited to learn the real depth of activity that takes place with our campus police force at a recent school board meeting, and thought others needed to know.
First of all, the safety aspect for campus police includes a vast array of activities. They are part of discussions regarding safe rooms, have helped save the district thousands of dollars by recommending window film in certain areas as an added protection against broken glass, and coordinate with our operations department and FEMA to make sure the buildings have strong tornado safety features.
Second, the department has eyes into all the nooks and crannies of our district to make sure bad people aren’t trying to hurt our children. It may be a bit disconcerting to know that a camera and key card system know that I have entered and exited the building, and at exactly what time I did that, but it is a real comfort to know they can pinpoint that information when a person with ill intent has tried to enter the buildings. The system we have in Putnam City integrates alarms, cameras, and access points to run together smoothly, and save dollars. Thanks to this system, several attempted vandalisms or burglaries were stopped over the summer and suspects were apprehended.
Third, our officers receive a high level of training, and over the summer got to meet with a former principal of Columbine High School where a live shooter event happened several years ago. They have also had training as school resource officers, in tactical medical training, and are certified to use Narcan in case a child has overdosed on a suspected opioid. We hope they never have to use this training, but I am so grateful they have it just in case.
Fourth, the department crafted a policy on the use of body cams, which have been deployed to all officers. They are to wear them when they are on duty and turn on when dealing with situations outside normal routine, or any situation the officer chooses.
Fifth, the campus police have been very supportive of our two JROTC programs (PC and PCW) and plans to conduct publicity at district events to help draw support for those programs.
No we’re not a “real” town, but the kind of support offered by our campus police reinforces the fact that we are indeed our own unique community. Thank you to all our officers!