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Fouke schools get new canine officer

Fouke schools get new canine officer

June 14th, 2019 by Submitted to the Texarkana Gazette in Texarkana Region

FOUKE, Ark.—Fouke School District and Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Barrett will present the Fouke School District's new canine officer Major on Tuesday morning at the school.

Major will be introduced at 10:30 a.m. in front of Fouke High School according to a news release.

Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett is entering her second year in partnership with Fouke Public School District to implement school safety measures in south Miller County.

The partnership between Barrett's office and the school district came about as school administration sought to modify the traditional model of school security, which involved articulation agreements between the school and the Miller County Sheriff's Office, and move toward a model that gave the school district more autonomy to create a school safety structure that better met its needs, according to a news release.

"We knew what we wanted to accomplish down here in terms of campus security," said Fouke School Superintendent Dr. Jim Buie in a news release. "When we hit a road block with one entity, Mrs. Barrett was there extending the resources of her office to us and we jumped at the opportunity to partner with the Prosecuting Attorney."

Upgrades in campus security include district-wide high definition surveillance cameras with remote access capability, district-wide access control system on school doors, and the implementation and training of school crisis teams. The district school resource officer, Jeremy McClure, operates with the jurisdiction afforded the Miller County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and provides a daily presence on school campuses and at school-sponsored events.

Through this partnership, the Fouke School Safety Team was able to purchase a narcotic detection canine named Major. McClure has become certified through the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy to be a canine handler to work Major at the school and school-sponsored events. The recently adopted student drug-testing policy will require all students involved in extracurricular activities, as well as those who drive to school, to pass a mandatory drug screening.

The Fouke School District is making great strides toward creating a safer educational environment that deters students from using and/or selling illegal drugs on campus, Buie said.

"When we began this partnership with Mrs. Barrett, we were trying to create a school safety design that was suited for a rural school district in the 21st century," Buie said. "You might say we were a little ahead of our time as the latest legislative session just now gave us Act 629." Referring to a new Arkansas law that permits local school districts to exercise more autonomy in how they structure their school security forces.

"I am very pleased with the ongoing improvements in campus security that we have been able to accomplish in the Fouke School District," Barrett said in a news release. "Dr. Buie has done an outstanding job obtaining the assets needed for the Fouke School District to be prepared for school safety threats. He has a vision and the determination to get results and I am pleased to partner with the school so that they may have a certified officer on staff and the ability to use a canine in the school district. My office is always committed to the continued efforts required to address the growing number of school safety concerns."

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