Education

Moore among few NC school districts with own police force

Posted March 18, 2013
Updated March 19, 2013

— While many North Carolina school districts debate placing armed officers in schools to increase security, Moore County Schools has had its own police force for five years.

The district is among only five school districts statewide with a police department. Chief Sammy McNeill said the move was made solely to gain a better handle on school traffic, but it has since resulted in other benefits.

"Every part of my law enforcement instinct is directed toward the school system," he said. "When I use to be a deputy, if I leave home and I see something going on, you have a responsibility as a sworn deputy to address that. The officers who work for me, they get up in the morning, and their responsibility begins once they arrive on the Moore County Schools property."

Having 11 officers focused on safe schools means better security for the district, he said, noting that training also emphasizes school-related issues.

"Other than the required training that the state puts out for all law enforcement," he said, "all of ours are directed on school stuff – knowing school law, knowing juvenile law, knowing (exceptional children) law."

That focus attracts a certain kind of officer.

"They want to be in the schools. They want to be working with kids. They want to help kids," McNeill said.

Moore County Schools police badge Moore schools say dedicated officers cut crime

School Resource Officer Timmy Bullins now patrols the same halls of Union Pines High School that he used to walk through as a student.

"It was a different time," Bullins said with a laugh.

He said he builds relationships with as many of Union Pines High's 1,200 students as possible.

"When they get off the bus, when they pull into this property, they're mine. I treat them like they're mine," he said. "They depend on us just like they depend on the teacher."

McNeill said the success of the school district police force can be seen in a 27 percent decline in school crime since the department was established.

"Many times, (officers) follow these student from middle school all the way up to high school," he said.

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  • ttc248 Mar 19, 10:54 a.m.

    cjw6105 you have issues. We have an excellent group in Moore County, although for a long time there was one exception, which has now taken care of itself with a recent retirement. Overall, it is an possitive addition to our system. It works. Not so much as punitive, but more protective. Parents and students appreciate them.

  • Sherlock Mar 18, 7:13 p.m.

    Great idea, hope it works out.

  • westernwake1 Mar 18, 7:05 p.m.

    There is a lot in this concept used by Moore County Schools that makes sense.

  • cjw6105 Mar 18, 7:00 p.m.

    I bet that this is somehow related to the mass shooting at the Carthage Assisted Living home a few years ago.

  • Fuquay Resident Mar 18, 6:30 p.m.

    This sounds like a great idea. I wonder where the school system got the money to do this.