• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

JPS announce new safety and security director

JONESBORO, Ark- One district will start off the new school year with a new face that will keep students and staff safe as the Jonesboro Public Schools introduces a new director of safety and security.

Todd Nelson is Jonesboro Public Schools new director of safety and security. The seasoned law enforcement veteran who says he is ready for the test spent the last 28 years working with the Jonesboro Police Department.

“It just seemed like number one, a new challenge, and number two, one, that was needed,” Nelson said.

He will oversee the school resource officer program and school safety plans.

Jonesboro Police officers have conducted training and walkthroughs in three JPS schools- with the new Jonesboro High School addition planned next.

One thing at the top of his agenda? Talks about improving technology as it can play a vital role in school safety.

“Advancements in technology, to look at access control into schools, to look at visitor management systems that help vet the visitors to the schools. Communication platforms that help us quickly and effectively communicate with teachers, students, and parents,” the director of safety and security says.

With almost thirty years of law enforcement experience, Nelson’s background with JPD includes working as lieutenant of the Patrol Division and sergeant in the Criminal Investigation Division.

His goal is to promote and provide the safest environment for students, staff, visitors, and the whole district community. With the recent Uvalde, Texas school shooting, Nelson knows eyes are on school safety.

“You really have to take a complete…overall approach, kinda a holistic approach when looking at school security. Unfortunately, we have to look at failures to learn from those things that have happened. Really to help us do our job better.”

Nelson encourages parents to look at their children's social media, know what sites they’re on, and know their friend groups. He also tells parents to talk to their kids about school safety.

“If they see something that stands out to them if they hear something to tell a teacher. And it’s not about getting kids in trouble, but it is about getting troubled kids in the connection and help they might need. To not only hopefully prevent a tragedy from happening but get these kids the help they need.”

Nelson says working with the same department where he worked for 28 years will be beneficial. And will help him in his new role as director of safety and security at Jonesboro Public Schools.


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