Vienna school district hires two armed resource officers - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Vienna school district hires two armed resource officers

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VIENNA -- More armed security officers will walk the halls of Vienna schools, hoping to make things safer for students.

Vienna schools superintendent Joshua Stafford said he's just like most parents today: He's worried about kids staying safe in school.

"In the last few weeks, we've been trying to determine what's going on in terms of what we can do to make our schools as safe as possible for kids," Stafford said.

One thing district officials agreed on was hiring two new school resource officers: Eileen Rochford and Jeremy Reagan.

Rochford retired as a master sergeant after 25 years with Illinois State Police. She also served on the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force and was named the Illinois Women in Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in the late 90s.

Reagan has seven years of law enforcement experience.

"Both are outstanding individuals and I'm confident will serve the students and families very well," Stafford said.

One officer will stay in the high school every day class is in session while the others will rotate amongst the other schools in the district.

Stafford said the officers will cost the district less than $25,000 a year. That figure includes the pay of another officer the district already has on staff.

Stafford said that's not a major cost and he hopes the district won't have to foot the entire bill, either.

"There's a lot of talk throughout the state of Illinois, especially in the General Assembly, about how to fund those types of programs," Stafford said. "There are grants out there and various things of that nature, and we're actively looking into those grants."

Stafford said the cost is nothing compared to the feeling of making sure kids are safe.

"This is a hard reality, but if there were to ever be an active intruder in our school, we want someone that's here and available and can respond to that quickly," Stafford said.

And Stafford feels the officers he has on staff can handle the job.

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