Education

In Durham, officers get title change to reflect role in schools

Posted July 27

— Durham is making a minor change to the role of police officers in middle schools.

Police officers in the Gang Resistance and Education Training (GREAT) program are set to become school resource officers at five middle schools throughout Durham.

Superintendent Bert L’Homme told city council members on Thursday the shift in title was intended to better reflect the job officers were already performing, which includes traffic control, addressing safety concerns and supporting staff.

The deal was agreed upon last week, but some council members wanted a better understanding before approval.

A few residents and some council members questioned the need for student resource officers in all schools while others cautioned that the officers shouldn’t criminalize bad behavior.

“If everybody in here who’s concerned about the school system as it is now would just make a commitment to do something to help somebody other than ourselves, what a better place this would be,” said Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden.

The title change for the officers will be in effect when classes resume in the fall, and L’Homme said he intends to keep the GREAT program in the schools as well.

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