The New Albany School District (NASD) is making a bold commitment to continued safety and security in its schools.
This past summer, Superintendent of Schools Lance Evans worked closely with Chief Chris Robertson of the New Albany Police Department and Mayor Tim Kent and the Board of Alderman to hire veteran New Albany Police Department Officer Michael Erby to serve as Director of School Safety and Security for the NASD.
Erby has twenty years-experience in law enforcement and will also serve as the School Resource Officer (SRO) at the Alternative School. He began his duties in July and continues to work toward the safe school environment goals of the school district as well as those of the School Safety Task Force that was established by Governor Phil Bryant.
Bryant established the task force this past summer to study shooting threats, prevention, and response.
In a presentation to the New Albany School Board of Trustees on August 30, Erby told those in attendance that he is excited to be a part of the district and is already working closing with the three SROs within the NASD to do the following:
- Address vulnerabilities on each campus;
- Conduct safety assessments on each campus;
- Have an SRO on duty at away football and basketball games; and,
- Working to develop a comprehensive, intruder safety plan.
“Our job is to minimize the vulnerabilities in the schools and to make the district a hard target,” he stated.
Erby also discussed an app called “STOP IT!”. This gives students an opportunity to anonymously report any potential destructive behavior of students, faculty, or the community. He plans to develop a campaign so that students are aware of how to report activity so that it can be monitored and investigated by him and the other SROs.
In addition to Erby, there are trained, experienced SROs on each school campus. P.J. Doyle serves as the SRO at New Albany Elementary School and has eighteen years-experience in law enforcement and 4.5 years as an SRO. Tim Erby serves as the SRO at New Albany Middle School and has fifteen years-experience in law enforcement and 3.5 years as an SRO. Ashley Kidd serves as the SRO and has nine years-experience in law enforcement and two years-experience as an SRO.
For many years, the school district has been a recipient of the Mississippi Community Oriented Policing Services in Schools (MCOPS) Grant which provides funding for a small portion of SRO salaries.
Evans added that he appreciates the work of Chief Robertson, Mayor Kent, and the Board of Alderman who have committed to making this possible within our schools.
“The presence of a trained, experienced, armed SRO on each of our campuses has added a much higher degree element of safety to our schools,” explained Evans. “It is a financial commitment to safety and security by our school district, our local police department, and our city.”