Marietta creates School Gang Officers position

Marietta police carMarietta Police Car (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Marietta has created two new positions called School Gang Officers (SGOs) in the Marietta Police Department to “prevent and combat gang activity” in the Marietta city schools.

The positions will be funded by the City of Marietta, the Marietta City School System (MCS) and the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS).

According to the news release from the Marietta Police Department announcing the program:

The funding originates with a COPS grant to prevent and combat gang activity. While there is not a current gang problem in the MCS, nor gang members intimidating Marietta students, nevertheless there are concerning gang trends throughout Metro-Atlanta and it is our strong desire to keep MCS safe and maintain a rich learning environment for our students.

The two School Gang Officers, experienced and trained in gang abatement, will supplement the current three School Resource Officers.

The news release states:

These new positions, a hybrid between gang task force officers and school resource officers, will be titled School Gang Officers (SGO’s). The SGO’s will work with school faculty and administrators on identifying any emerging gang members or issues that may negatively impact the safe learning environment and address the issues appropriately.

The $250,000 COPS grant includes scaled matching funds from Marietta and the school board for a four year period, after which the city and the school system will pick up the cost.

The Marietta Police Department news release continues:

We appreciate the ongoing partnership between the MCS and the Marietta Police Department. The procurement of these grant funds will allow us to reassign two existing SRO’s into the MCS Elementary Schools. SRO’s and SGO’s will now be able to interact with our children starting at an early age, building a strong foundation between the children and their local law enforcement. The MPD and MCS thank the COPS office for funding this important preventative measure intended to increase safety and prevent gangs from entering our school system.