News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, March 25, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been a little less than a month since Alfonzo Williams took over as chief of the Richmond County School System's School Safety Department.
He's had a busy first few weeks since he took over on March 1.
"We've met with teachers, we've met with principals," he explained. "I've toured a number of schools."
Williams says the last administration left them in a good place, but he knows there's always room for improvement.
"We certainly are not in a position to stop every scenario that might come about, but we are here," Williams said. "We're not looking at things from a reactive stand point only. We are being proactive."
With more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, he says the school system is where it all begins.
"If we're going to resolve society's problems, it's all through education," he explained.
He says it's not just education from the teachers, but from his officers as well.
"We're not just here to teach academics. We're here to teach behavior and values and morality, so I want our officers to be a part of that," he said.
Around 35 officers patrol every school in Richmond County, creating crucial relationships with the students.
"If he's talking to them and holding them accountable, but also being a friend and a mentor to them, they will tell you what's going on and they'll alert the officers to what's happening," Williams said.
He says it's a school system's way of community policing.
"It's about fostering the right relationships, and we're going to make sure that all our folks are doing just that," he said.
But he says it's not all up to them -- the parents also have a responsibility.
"They have a responsibility, just as I have, to make sure that this school system is safe and we want them to do their part and they can rest assured that we are gonna do our part."
They are in the process of updating the website to include profiles for each resource officer as well as a tipster piece where kids can leave anonymous information. They are also planning to put bullying tips on the site.
They recently received state certification for the first time. They are one of just 100 agencies out of more than 1,200 statewide that are state certified.