School Marshal Program Recognized by PACE
GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Ask any school marshal what their job entails, and they’ll tell you, “protecting their kids.” It’s a position these sworn law enforcement officers take great pride in and feel great responsibility for.
The program is a partnership between Grants Pass School District 7 and Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. It began five years ago, with three school marshals. Today, there are eight. School marshals are veteran police officers, who in most cases, have recently retired. Thanks to GPDPS, the officers maintain their DPSST trainings and certification and serve as one more layer of protection in our schools.
“It gives staff, students, and families peace of mind knowing they’re there,” Chief Finance and Operations Officer Sherry Ely says. “When these programs are set-up right, and you have the right people that are trained, there’s no question about the value for our schools.”
“It provides security to staff and students without a uniformed police officer,” Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton says, “a bad guy can’t plan since their presence isn’t obvious.”
That presence, or lack thereof, is what drew the attention of PACE, an insurance provider for public entities like schools. An individual in PACE’s risk department nominated Grants Pass School District 7’s marshal program for a Safety Star Award, and the District was selected as a winner of the Outstanding Program Award.
PACE Administrator Dave Harvey says the school marshal program has shown a commitment to improved safety on behalf of our students and staff.
“[It] has been remarkable," Harvey says, "and we want to publicly recognize that.”
Both the District and Public Safety appreciate the recognition.
“It’s recognition for getting creative and thinking outside of the box to enhance safety at our schools,” Deputy Chief Hamilton says.
“The partnerships in Grants Pass are second to none,” Chief Warren Hensman adds, "we're proud to be a part of it."
“I don’t know of any other school in our area that has a program like this,” Ely says, “but I hope more will consider it.”