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Blue Springs puts more officers in schools

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Blue Springs is adding more officers to its schools. The school district is the only one in the state of Missouri that is allowed to commission its own police force.

The department is only four years old, but has doubled in size after the hiring of four more officers in March, plus two more in the near future.

Currently, there are 10 officers, and the district plans to add two more before the start of the next school year.

"It will put an officer within two or three minutes of every school in the district," said Tom Phillips, who's in charge of public safety for the district.

In 2009, House Bill 291 gave the school district the authority to commission officers to enforce laws and crimes committed on school properties and buses. The officers also carry guns and can make arrests.

"They walk the halls, the parking lots, taking all police reports, but we do a lot of other things."

Phillips said officers also investigate school residency rules -- a major problem for the district. It's estimated 100 students are removed each year for rule violations.

"We've set up on bus stops, we've had some drop them off at the bus stop and get on the bus and try to come to school that way and give us false information."

Officers monitor the district use more than 800 video cameras, plus cameras on school buses. The department hired its officers from other jurisdictions, as well as hiring former School Resource officers.

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