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Cops Boost Security at Arkansas School District

Bentonville Police Officers are stepping up security patrols on school campuses.

Bentonville Police officers are stepping up security patrols on school campuses.

The department decided to start visiting every school in the district after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"They really formed a bond with the police officers, they'll come up to them at breakfast and talk to them," said Marisa Shofner, a counselor at Ruth Hale Barker Middle School.

The officers offer a friendly smile and a welcome handshake, but they are creating peace of mind.

"Our goal was to have about 8 to 10 quality school visits a day....A brief patrol around the school itself on the way in and on the way out, and then anything we can do to verify that the doors that should be locked are locked... Take a look around, look for anything that might be out of place," said Chief Jon Simpson, with the Bentonville Police Department.

Simpson believes the program has been a success so far.

"We've done very well and in some cases exceeded that goal and had up to 60 visits in one week."

So aside from patrolling the hallways, officers will soon be implementing phase two.

"We're going to ask them to get into the school and to take a minute to either deliver some kind of safety or good choices type message."

It is a simple way to build even stronger relationships, and Shofner sees the impact first-hand.

"Some of the parents come to eat lunch with them, and they see police officers walking through. It's made them feel much safer for their kids being at school."

Uniformed officers, giving a sense of security and acting as extra eyes and ears for every school in the district.

"This is just an extra presence for staff students and parents to feel like their kids are in a safe place."

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