Startup costs for a district police department could run into the millions with most of the costs likely paid from the district’s general fund, according to district officials.
The district would hire trained, certified officers who would receive additional training in working with students, district spokeswoman Jill Strickland said.
“This is the first phase of that process,” she said. “We look at this as aligning with our new charter system operating model where there’s more autonomy and flexibility at the school level.”
The new police officers could be in schools at the start of next school year, Strickland said.
Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen and board chair Courtney English have spoken repeatedly in recent months about the benefits of an in-house security force.
"We've got to be in the business of building meaningful relationships with our students," English told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month. Atlanta schools need "people who can build relationships without having that strict law enforcement component."
District records show officers used some type of force — including pepper spray, stun guns and physical “takedowns” — in Atlanta schools 22 times last year.