MINT HILL, N.C. -- Police say budget cuts are putting students in danger at one CMS school.
Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford tried to reach the only school resource officer assigned to Rocky River High Tuesday morning.
“I just called our school resource officer three times to get him to give me radio check, he didn't answer,” Ledford says.
That's because the resource officer can't answer; police radios don't get any service in the school.
“The students are at risk and the police, all students at that school are at risk because CMS did not put a repeater in,” Lloyd Austin said.
Austin, a Mint Hill commissioner, is angry. He says CMS was supposed to install a piece of equipment to make the radios work before the school opened and still hasn't done so.
“I’m very concerned, we need to be able to communicate at any given moment,” Ledford said.
Tuesday morning illustrated that point. There was a fight in the school between two students and hundreds more students came to watch. Ledford says the SRO was stuck in the middle of things without a way to call for backup with his police radio. He says the officer actually had to get to an exterior window to use his cell phone to call for help.
Ledford says there’s another issue; only one resource officer is assigned to the school. That means every time there's an arrest at the school -- and there have been 56 so far this school year -- one of the only five officers on patrol in the town is tied up for hours. Ledford has asked the Mint Hill commissioners for money for a second school resource officer.
CMS responded to NewsChannel 36 late Tuesday afternoon and says many schools in the system have similar issues, but use walkie-talkies to communicate with school administrators, who then call 911. That is what they suggest Mint Hill police do as well.