MCS leaders to ask state to allow private police force

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Schools leaders are hoping to convince state leaders there is a need for creating a private police force.

School leaders have put the issue on their legislative agenda and hope to meet with state lawmakers next month.

"Most school boards throughout the state of Tennessee take a trip to Nashville to meet with their respective general assembly members," MCS Board member Martavius Jones said.

It is currently illegal in Tennessee for school districts to form their own police department.

Jones said he wants that changed.

"What we're seeking ... is a change in state law that will allow Memphis City Schools and other districts in the state of Tennessee to have an internal police force," Jones said.

After two recent dangerous situations involving guns found at Hamilton High School and Vance Middle School, school leaders are on guard.

"We have approximately nine incidents where we can say weapons have been found in and around campus," Gerald Darling, Chief of School Safety, Security and Emergency Management with Memphis City Schools said.

The district said it has measures in place to target guns, crimes, and drugs.

"The district has spent numerous amounts of money to have one of the most elaborate systems of metal detection ... in a lot of our schools and they do an outstanding job," Darling said.

The district said enforcing other strategies, such as a strict dress code policy, security cameras, and gang intervention and prevention can also keep students and faculty safe.

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