New uniform walking the halls in Lewis County schools
Students with the Lewis County C-1 School District are walking the halls with a new sense of security this year.
The district now has a full-time sheriff's deputy on staff that monitors both the Junior and Senior High School and the Elementary School.
Students will notice a handful of deputies rotate into this position for a few weeks at a time. Highland Junior and Senior High Principal Alan Koch says this new role is a proactive measure for the district.
"We are in a rural district with a lot of different towns and our law enforcement can be as far as 20 to 25 minutes away," Koch said.
With this new position, deputies like Luke Barton are just seconds away.
"They have jumped right in and attacked a lot of different issues," Koch said.
Barton is one of a handful of deputies that will rotate into this role throughout the year.
"I do get active cases at the school, whether it be truancy problems, theft and I also work closely with the juvenile offices and the Department of Family Services for child abuse and neglect cases," Barton said.
Some of Barton's day to day responsibilities include patrolling hallways, making sure all doors are locked from the outside and staying in the know at all times. He can assess a situation with the touch of his fingertips and be there in a moment's notice.
"I have the surveillance cameras on my cell phone, so I can pull those up pretty quickly," Barton said.
Whether at the school, in his car or at home, Barton can see the ins and the outs of the district at all hours.
"I think it's really important, because if something were to happen, they're familiar with the school, people are familiar with them and they know what's going on over the course of the school day," Koch said. "It's just a win-win for everybody and we appreciate their efforts."
The deputy's position with the Lewis County C-1 School District was funded through a quarter cent county sales tax increase approved by the community as well as by the district and Lewis County Sheriff's Office.