A consultant for the firm Safe Havens International, which just produced a blistering report about safety at Bibb County Schools, is now the district’s new campus police chief.
Russell Bentley was part of the team that found significant underreporting of serious disciplinary problems in the schools. He started consulting after he retired from the same chief’s position in 2009.
"As a resident, as a parent, I’m concerned about this community," Bentley said in an interview with The Telegraph of Macon, explaining why he decided to return. "You can’t be on the sideline and be in the game. In order to get in the game you have to get off the sideline."
The "game" will be a tough one. During Bentley’s first full week on the job, one of his officers at a middle school caught a 14-year-old female student carrying a gun. So far this school year, Bibb County students have been caught with at least two guns and four knives; one high school girl cut another's face with a box-cutter.
Bentley said he plans to step up procedures he found successful during his first tenure. Asked for specifics, he replied, “the random searches, the plain view searches [of] student parking lots, the plain view searches that we were conducting at our athletic events."
Bentley said he’s also trained teams to conduct safety and security audits at each school, something his old firm Safe Havens specifically recommended.
Contributors: The Telegraph's Andrea Castillo