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Wake County Sheriff: School District Should Have Its Own Police

Wake County School Bus
Dave DeWitt

The Wake County Sheriff says the local public school system should have its own police agency.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison's recommendation comes after video footage showed a police officer slamming a Rolesville High School student to the ground earlier this month.

Officer Ruben De Los Santos works for the Rolesville Police Department, but was assigned to the high school through Wake's School Resource Officer program.

This week, Sheriff Harrison wrote in a letter to County Commissioners that individual departments across the country have different protocols and training standards. He said a centralized system could improve safety at the country's 15th largest school system.

Wake School Superintendent Jim Merrill noted that Harrison made the same recommendation four years ago, to no avail.

Wake's School Resource Officer program contract expires this June.

“We're in the process of reviewing and developing recommendations for that MOU now,” District Spokeswoman Lisa Luten said in an email. “It's too early to discuss what those recommendations will be, as they have not been finalized yet.”


Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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