MEDFORD, Ore. – The Medford School District (MSD) is partnering with the Medford Police Department this spring to launch the MSD School Marshal Program.
It will provide dedicated security at elementary schools to complement School Resource Officers (SRO) who primarily focus on middle and high schools.
The program is based on one that Grants Pass School District adopted back in 2016.
“We couldn’t find one person that didn’t have anything but good things to say and examples of how if marshals had not been on site, things would have been different,” MSD’s Executive Director of Safety and Security Ron Havniear said.
The marshals will be recently retired police officers who will be armed but not in uniform.
Medford Police Chief Justin Ivens said that the positions provide an opportunity for veteran officers to extend their careers.
“This is just a win-win because you’re taking officers who have over 25 years of experience, know how to communicate well, know how to resolve situations, and will just be a good presence at those schools,” Chief Ivens explained.
MSD said that part of the effectiveness of the program is the marshals can blend in with the school community but can also quickly respond to any sort of emergency.
“One of the goals of the marshal program is absolutely to build relationships between the marshals and the students,” MSD Superintendent Bret Champion said. “What we learned from Grants Pass is that the students just see these folks as part of the staff.”
The school district plans to have three marshals this spring that will rotate between schools.
The ultimate goal is to have a school marshal for all 14 elementary schools in the district.
That will complement the soon-to-be five SROs MSD already has.
“Safety and security is not a competitor to teaching and learning, it is an enabler to it,” Havniear said. “This is a way that we can have dedicated security in our elementary schools, dedicated through the marshals, dedicated SROs at our secondary schools, and truly have that robust coverage of a security plan so that we can stay focused on education.”
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