Benton SRO program draws praise from district, state

Benton Police Department's leadership and expertise have drawn the attention of the Arkansas Safe Schools Conference in North Little Rock and drew praise Thursday night from officials of the Benton School District.

During the recent conference, Chief Kirk Lane was selected as the winner of the 2014 top award for the department's contribution to the School Resource Officer program.

Lane was commended for his commitment to the SRO program, noting his accomplishments as adding an SRO supervisor to the program, providing additional training for SROs, and securing a $15,000 security upgrade grant in the last school year.

That was not the extent of the local honors, however.

In a school board meeting Thursday night, where the police honors were noted, board President Brad Bohannan announced that Superintendent Jeff Collum had been selected for the Larance Johnson Education Administrator of the Year honor as part of the Safe Schools Leadership Award.

Bohannan noted that this award is presented in recognition of a school administrator who has made a significant contribution to its SRO program.

Collum was recognized for his commitment to the SRO program and for overall measures taken to provide a safe and secure environment for the children in the local district.  

A further honor for the district included SRO Quinton Jackson becoming a finalist for the SRO of the Year Award.

For being a finalist for the award Jackson presented with a plaque acknowledging his dedication to the Benton School District.

Bohannan noted that in a contest for the Safe Schools Conference “Best In Show” Car Contest for the most innovative school resource vehicle, the Benton Police Department's “Panther” Ford Mustang won the 2014 car contest title.

The vehicle is drive by Sgt. Lisa Stuart.

The program recently expanded to four SROs with Bobby Shell becoming the latest officer to participate
Collum commended Lane and others in the department for their participation in the program.

"This is a great partnership between the school district and the city of Benton," Collum said.

"Shortly after I arrived here, Chief Lane and began conversing on ways to expand the program to four full-time SROs," he said.

Collum noted that the program enhances student and employee safety.

Collum recognized Mayor David a who was present for the award presentations.