Grants Pass, Ore. — Cutting off a threat before it even reaches campus — that’s the idea behind the new School Marshal program in Grants Pass. Beginning Monday morning, students were joined on each school’s campus by an undercover retired police officer.
Every student NBC5 News spoke with said they feel safer knowing an armed officer may be on their campus at any given time.
“I think I’ll feel a lot safer knowing that there are people there,” Makayla Hatt, a Sophomore at Grants Pass High School.
Monday is the first day of the school marshal program, a new safety initiative by the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.
“With all of those school shootings that’s been going on, like, it could have been easily stopped if there was a security guard, or a police officer that was there to be able to stop something like that,” Dillan Hughes said, a Sophomore at Grants Pass High School. “I think it’s a great idea.”
Staffed by the police department, retired officers who still have their certification will patrol the city school campuses at random, in plain clothes. The anonymity is an element that the students are behind.
“I think that’s a good idea because it makes it so people don’t know who’s watching them, and it makes people on their toes all the time, making sure that they’re doing the right thing,” Lane Kasiah said, a Sophomore at Grants Pass High School.
The school marshals will be on all District Seven campuses, providing an invisible, but present wall of protection.
“I feel safe on campus a lot of the time, but in case there’s a scenario like that, then I’ll feel a lot safer knowing there’s people there that can protect us,” Hatt said.
The school marshal program is funded by the Grants Pass School District Seven. They’re paying police an extra $30,000 to $60,000 per year for the service, along with their current budget for school resource officers.