A program bringing Pauls Valley’s schools and law enforcement together the last two years has been such a rousing success it will continue despite a major change.

The change comes in the form of Shannon Hamilton, who as a Pauls Valley Police officer has served as the local school district’s resource officer during that time.

Hamilton will continue offering his services to the schools when the next school year begins this August.

The big difference is he will do it as a Garvin County deputy rather than as a local police officer.

After Hamilton resigned from the local force just days ago, school officials went to work to ensure he would remain their guy housed in the junior high building but serving all the local schools.

“We wanted to keep Shannon as our resource officer,” school Superintendent Bobby Russell said.

“He had resigned from the local police so I approached the county sheriff’s department so we could keep him,” he said.

Russell’s request proved successful as he convinced Sheriff Bill Roady to take Hamilton on as a deputy assigned to continue his law enforcement duties with the local schools.

Not only did the superintendent and other school officials want to keep a resource officer in place, they specifically wanted Hamilton to be that officer.

“His position is an important one,” Russell said about Hamilton and the resource officer post.

“Shannon has already established a good working relationship with administrators, teachers and our students. I felt that was important to keep in place.”

That is indeed what will happen as Hamilton is expected to join his new employer next week.

“He’s basically a full-time deputy, and he’s assigned as a school resource officer,” Roady said.

“When he’s not at school he’ll come over and work for us,” he said.

The transition should be an easy one as the local school district already has an interlocal agreement in place with the county.

Two years ago the school district and local police partnered together to create the resource officer position.

One idea behind creating this post was to establish a connection between the two with a regular positive interaction between an officer and the students.

Another purpose was to have a law enforcement presence at the schools meant to prevent potential discipline problems, as well as provide needed resources to students and staff by way of safety and anti-drug programs.

Even though Pauls Valley Police Chief Dennis Madison doesn’t have an officer working in the program anymore, he knows just how important it has been the past couple of school years.

“I support the program, and Shannon has done an excellent job. We have seen the benefits of the program the last two years,” Madison said.

“We wish the best for the program that’s much needed. It bridges the gap between the students and law enforcement,” he said.

Once Hamilton does get started on his new job doing the same duties, the school district will pay for his salary and patrol car fuel costs during the school year.

The fiscal responsibility for the new deputy will fall to the sheriff’s department the remainder of the year.

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