By Logan Watson
Since the Student Resource Officers were introduced to the Milan School System two years ago, behavioral incidents during class have plummeted. The increased police presence has made a positive impact on the kids by helping them feel safe at school and shaping their opinions of law enforcement officers through their relationships with SROs Nick Glenn and Chad Autry.
But kids will be kids, which, sooner or later, means someone will make a bad decision. Or worse.
For that reason, the Milan Police Department has teamed up with the MSSD once again to provide students with the means to protect themselves and others on and off campus. The Milan Police Department’s new School Tip Line will give students the ability to report dangerous situations and illegal activities no matter where they are and without any fear of retaliation from other students.
The Tip Line delivers text messages directly to a cell phone, which will be in the possession of either Sgt. Glenn or Sgt. Autry at all times. The SROs will be able to respond to the messages and see the number of the phone reporting the problem, but the numbers will remain confidential.
“That’s one of the good things about having the Student Resource Officers in the schools,” said Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers. “They already have the kids’ trust, so they’re more likely to report something suspicious to them than the rest of us.”
According to SRO Glenn, the numbers will be posted at all three schools, as well as other places where kids like to hang out, like football games, the Milan YMCA and the Skating Place.
“We think this will be very helpful in keeping our kids safe, both during and after school,” said Sgt. Glenn. “This way, if the kids can’t get us, they can text the problem to us.” Glenn stated that the tip line can be used to report serious concerns like weapons in the school, or other problems, like drinking, drug use, and bullying. All tips will be investigated and treated like official police reports, meaning that texting in a bomb threat because a student didn’t feel like going to school will be not be tolerated.
“We will have the cell numbers,” said Chief Sellers, “so if it becomes a consistent problem, we will explain to whoever is making the reports that there are consequences for that.”
“We will go through the same process that we use when someone is accused of filing a false report,” Sgt. Glenn added. “It’s no different than if someone called the police department and reported a crime. If we devote all of our resources to a serious tip and it turns out to be false, we will take action.”
According to Chief Sellers, he and Sgt. Glenn had discussed the possibility of a tip line when the Student Resource Officer Program began, but they only revisited the idea recently when it was brought up in a conversation with Director of Schools Jonathan Criswell.
“We want as many avenues to make sure our students are safe as possible,” said Director Criswell. “This is just one more tool that our students and SROs have at their disposal to keep Milan schools safe. We believe that our kids genuinely want to do the right thing, and we want to give them that ability.”
The MPD School Tip Line is currently operational, and is provided at no cost by Verizon Wireless. Tips can be texted to 731-388-3385, but the line is not set up to receive phone calls.
STUDENT TIP LINE – Officers of the Milan Police Department officially launched their Student Tip Line for all MSSD schools last week. Students can text their Student Resource Officers to report bullying, drugs and other dangerous behaviors directly to SROs Nick Glenn and Chad Autry any time, even when they’re not on school grounds. The number for the tip line is 731-338-3385. Pictured are (from left) SROs Chad Autry, Nick Glenn, MHS Assistant Principal Greg Scott and Principal Flipper Burks.