McComb School District and the police department met Friday to renew their commitment to their partnership, with school officials meeting the new Police Chief Garland Ward.
“Some years ago, we developed this partnership with the police department just to make sure we are on the same page,” McComb Superintendent Dr. Cederick Ellis said. “The school district can’t do what they do without the partnership with the police department, and it has been a great partnership.”
Ellis said the partnership thrived under former Chief Damian Gatlin along with previous administrations and he hopes for a continuation with Ward.
“They’ve done so much for us. Policemen were coming to the school to have lunch with our high school children and walk them through the building,” he said. “With everything going on with our nation, I think it is critical that our children see our policemen as someone who can help them and not as someone who can hurt them.”
He said the community is fortunate that there are no documented cases of police brutality in Pike County, noting that developing this partnership will help contribute to that.
This sentiment was echoed by the school district’s Partners in Education president Rob Belote. He said, from business and community leaders to law enforcement, it takes a village to take care of and educate children.
“This gets them in the schools and educates students on policing the community and overall creates a better community involvement and understanding of what goes on the law enforcement's side,” he said.
Ward said he was excited to continue the program with the school, noting that he wants to focus on community policing with his administration, and this is one piece of that puzzle.
“It feels great to continue the partnership because we need it. We have got to reach our youth, and the best way to reach them is through education,” Ward said. “We have to catch them young and let them know we are here for them. As long as we can guide them, and they listen, I think it is going to continue to be a great partnership.”