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School district hires security cops

The Hudson School District will have an armed security officer on the campus of Hudson High School as part of a three-year security and safety plan.

The job, which is totally funded by the school district, will be shared by two former area law enforcement officers with decades of experience between them. Their duties will primarily be at HHS but they will be available as needed at Hudson Middle School and other district schools. The job is fulltime and year-round.

Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten said that the increasing occurrence of violence in schools around the country and in communities like Hudson prompted the school district to examine security issues and plans at all schools. That review led to the new plan which began with the installation of secured entrances at all schools. The new security cop is also a part of the plan. Other measures under consideration are video and intercom systems at school entrances.

The superintendent said the presence of a security officer who works for the district is in addition to the position of school liaison officer currently held by Hudson Police Officer Jon Grass and will serve to complement his duties. The liaison position is funded jointly by the district and the police department. The officer is an employee of the HPD.

Late last year the district also came to an agreement with HPD to provide office space at Hudson Middle School that could be used by officers who are working in the area of the school to complete paperwork and make calls.

Bowen-Eggebraaten said that the combination of an onsite security officer along with the liaison officer and the police sub-station will provide a more visible police presence, especially in the district’s largest schools. The security officer will not be engaged in active investigations on school campuses but can pass any pertinent information along to Officer Grass and the HPD. The superintendent said the new officer’s primary responsibility is safety and security.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen worked closely with the school district in developing the job description and qualifications for the security officer as well as being part of the interview team. While the new security officer will be armed, Bowen-Eggebraaten said that the use of force will be used only to ensure the safety of students and staff. “We believe we have hired seasoned professionals who are skilled in de-escalation techniques and understand that any type of force should be used only as a last resort.”

The superintendent added that “Keeping students safe is everyone’s responsibility. Anything anyone sees that seems unusual or out of the ordinary needs to be reported immediately to protect everyone in our schools. We know that students know and see things but don’t report them. This security officer is one more way we can get that information quickly.”

The new security officers will be in uniforms. The position pays $25 per hour and does not include benefits. The funds for the position are part of the 2013-14 budget.

For more information about the security officer contact the superintendent’s office at (715) 377-3702.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604