TODAY

TODAY   |  March 06, 2013

Town puts police officer in every school

The community of Simpsonville, S.C., has figured out a way to put a police officer in every school without spending a dime of taxpayer money, and are hoping to be a model for the rest of the country. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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>>> in the wake of the tragic school shooting in newtown, connecticut , administrators across the country are looking for ways to improve safety. one town has figured out how to put a police officer in a school and it doesn't cost them anything extra. katy tur is in simpsonville, south carolina , to explain this story. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. a lot of new measures were put into place, including a new lockdown system. it's how they've managed to have a local police officer here every single day without any cost to the taxpayer that they're hoping could be a model to the country.

>> you're awesome.

>> you guys are awesome.

>> you are!

>> reporter: call him a local celebrity , big guy on campus sending a big message.

>> he's protecting the school and keeping us safe.

>> what's up, guys?

>> reporter: a full-time police officer , just iin chandler doesn't just patrol the halls on occasion. he is here every day. earlier this year he came up with the idea to do his office work here instead of the police station .

>> all i needed from the school was a desk and wi-fi.

>> they have desks at the school.

>> exactly. so we said it's a no brainer.

>> reporter: in the weeks after the tragedy at sandy hook elementary in connecticut , schools across the country re-evaluated their safety procedures. here in simpsonville, south carolina , the proposal to have an officer, like chandler, on site struck everyone as a perfect solution .

>> when we got down to the brass tax of it, it didn't cost a dime.

>> it didn't cost anything?

>> no.

>> feel safer i never thought that actually have an officer at elementary would be that valuable. now that he's here, i don't want him to leave.

>> reporter: schools in jordan, minnesota, are doing the same, calling it a proactive solution.

>> we're hoping this is a deterrent and that it will help build community and will help kids understand that police officers are helpful and are there to help us.

>> we love our officer.

>> reporter: administrators talk to parents and teachers about the concern over having an armed police officer walking the halls. so far, the reaction, though, has been positive.

>> he's here for their safety. he has made us feel safe, especially what happens over in connecticut .

>> i would rather be here and not be needed than be needed and not be here.

>> reporter: a small solution, easing big anxiety.

>> this is clearly not a job for you. you're just doing this because you're having fun here.

>> well, if you don't have fun in what you do, what's the point in doing it?

>> reporter: now, having an armed police officer is working here in south carolina . in upstate new york , armed police resource officer accidentally discharged his gun in a school hallway. nobody was around or injured in that situation but a lot of people are wondering why he needed to be there in the first place. guys?

>> katy tur with what's working in one town. we asked you to weigh in. do you want to see police officers in your community schools ? right now 69% of you said yes. 31%, no. it's been an interesting idea. not without controversy, but it's a simple solution.

>> if it doesn't cost communities anything extra, i think it's going to be something that spreads throughout the rest of