The Pembroke Police Department will provide a school resource officer for the three schools within Pembroke city limits beginning this fall after city council voted Monday to accept a contract with the Bryan County Board of Education.
Under the contract, Bryan County Schools will cover the cost of the officer’s salary, vacation and other benefits, or “what it cost us,” for the additional officer, Pembroke City Manager Alex Floyd said, noting that’s expected to be about $60,000 when benefits are included.
The officer will be stationed at Bryan County High School but also serve Bryan County Middle and Elementary schools, all of which are within an approximately half-mile radius. The combined enrollment of the three schools “makes up about a third of our daytime population,” when school is in, Floyd told council members.
The student resource officer will also work games and other school events, and during the summer when school is out, the officer will work for PPD.
“It’s a real positive for us,” said Pembroke Public Safety Director Bill Collins, who also announced the department has added a detective, Sgt. Brenda Tyson.
Collins said Tyson’s experience and training were impressive and includes stints with Bryan County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“Her training is amazing. She’s going to be a great catch for us,” he said. “She’ll walk in the door, since she’s a citizen of Pembroke, we’ll have to train her very little and she’s on the street.”
City officials discussed at length what was described as a “pop up” protest last week in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis – in which approximately half a dozen residents gathered to protest. Pembroke Mayor Pro Tem Johnnie Miller asked for more communication from police and contrasted the city’s response with that of Richmond Hill, where a permit was issued and city officials joined with local groups at Richmond Hill High School. Collins said he was informed of the event late and did everything he could to ensure the safety of both the protesters and the public, while also allowing the protestors the opportunity to express themselves.
“Our thought process was to keep this calm as we can,” he said. “These were mainly kids and it worked out fine. We didn’t require them to get a permit because that would’ve probably caused a bigger issue.
In our discussion with the guys they didn’t want to destroy anything or tear up anything, they just wanted to be heard.” Miller said he wanted to ensure protesters had permits so the city wouldn’t be held liable were someone to get hurt. Mayor Judy Cook said the problem with requiring a permit for that particular “pop up protest” was that it “was hard to deal with rumor,” and that different stories were cropping up on social media. She added, but “one thing I admire about Pembroke, quite frankly, we might have some issues, but I think everybody cares about Pembroke and didn’t want to see anything bad happen. And it didn’t.”
City Hall to reopen
Officials said Monday they plan on reopening City Hall to the public on June 15. Signs and other markings to help residents keep six-foot-social separation have been ordered.
Council members also asked why the city’s usual Memorial Day flag display was limited to a handful of flags this year, noting there were a number of complaints. City Clerk Sharroll Fanslau, who is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and on the committee, said it was due to lack of manpower, but said the city will try to get more help next holiday. “We can always use volunteers,” Fanslau said.