Police Chief Thomas Carter and city officials held a public safety forum at Bethany A.M.E. Church Wednesday night. It gave the Chief a chance to discuss the proposal to put police officers in Harrisburg schools.
The plan calls for 5 school resource officers, with an estimated cost to the district of about $793,000 over three years. That amount is cut down from what the district and the city negotiated over before.
Students from Harrisburg High School's Impact Team sat on the panel at the forum. One student said he thinks police officers need to be more present in the community to break down stereotypes about law enforcement. The Chief says the way to do that is in the schools.
"More and more youth would choose not to get into trouble," with school resource officers fostering relationships, says Carter. "They would look at law enforcement careers, they would look at military careers."
Some employees in the Harrisburg School District also attended the meeting. But some worry about the district's ability to fund the resource officers, and the students' willingness to accept them.
"Some of the teachers and other staff in the school district is the only consistency that they have," says Charles Jackson of Harrisburg. "And to disturb that in any way is just ridiculous."
The city has sent the proposal to the superintendent. City officials say they want to act as quickly as possible.