The District has announced a new Safety and Security Officer, Marq Claxton. In a press release, the District provided Claxton's extensive background with NYPD.
Claxton's LinkedIn profile indicates his experience with NYPD was 1985-2005. He was Chief of Security at Voorhees College (Denmark, S.C.) from July 2019-October 2020. Where was he during the fourteen years between 2005-2019? His LinkedIn profile mentions President of Goodwine LLC (2013-Present). What's that? It seems to have no internet presence that can be found through a Google search.
Here is my 2¢ worth for what is coming for Richland 2. This is based on what I saw happen in Illinois when McHenry County College hired a former California police officer to run its campus security operations.
When you hire a cop (and I like cops) for a civilian job, you'd better believe that cop ideas are going to be showing up very soon. Did the school board consider that? Do you remember any public board meeting when this new position was discussed? Was it handled in confidential Executive Session and never revealed until today's press release?
I predict that Richland 2 will create its own police department and convert its security (non-police) employees to sworn police officers. They will have official police duties and will be armed. They will have powers of arrest and will exercise them.
Now, I don't have any problem with armed police officers (or even armed security officers or armed teachers) on campus. If the need arises to defend students, teachers, staff, visitors, etc., I want a legally- and responsibly-armed person nearby.
You may remember that in February 2018, right after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, I asked the board to survey parents, teachers, staff and community members on the topic of arming teachers. Two parents later that night were allowed to speak (without being registered before the start of the meeting) and stated their opposition to arming teachers. (Did anyone that night realize that I had not proposed arming teachers? I asked for a survey!)
Why do I see this coming?
The Richland County Sheriff's Department charges Richland 2 BIG BUCKS for the 30-or-so School Resource Officers (SRO). First-year SRO cost was reported at a school board meeting as being about $150,000 for the officer "and equipment". That's "renting" the equipment, not buying it.
Frankly, an SRO is a waste of Richland 2's money. Yes, if an SRO is needed, it'll be good for him to be there, IF he is in the vicinity of the need. Most of the time, an incident could be handled on campus while a deputy was responding to a call-for-service; i.e., dialing the sheriff's department and requesting a deputy.
For a lot less money than is currently being spent, Richland 2 could provide its own trained, qualified and armed security staff.
McHenry County College bought two Ford Interceptors. These were "desperately needed" to patrol its small campus and small parking lots for the relatively-small (7,000? and mostly part-time) campus crowd. Two police-equipped Ford Interceptors??? Seriously?
Is Ford licking its chops and getting ready to respond to an RFP for two (or more) police vehicles?
You may also remember that I spoke in favor of the two men on the security staff being armed, but I thought the responsibility and authority should be granted by the school board and not by the superintendent. What did the board decide, in its infinite wisdom? The board rescinded a long-standing approval of firearms possession on campus by the two security department staffers. A 20-year agreement, made by a previous superintendent, was overturned. Both men were former police officers.
That's what happens when you have an anti-gun majority on a school board. All they hear is "gun", and anything after that is bad, bad, bad.
My guess is that at least six board members today are anti-gun. Will Claxton swing enough weight to keep Richland 2 safe?
Here is Richland 2's press release:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Richland
Two is welcoming a new safety and security officer. The superintendent recently
recommended and the Richland Two Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Marquez
“Marq” Claxton as the district’s Safety and Security Officer. Claxton’s duties
and responsibilities include assisting in the planning, direction, and
oversight of district safety/security programs; planning and conducting
investigations to support a wide variety of both criminal and administrative
proceedings; and providing safety and emergency response training as needed.
a native New Yorker, has resided in South Carolina for over a decade. He
retired from the New York Police Department (NYPD) in 2005 where he was a first
responder to the September 11 World Trade Center attack. During Claxton’s NYPD
career, he had a wide range of assignments, including undercover operations in
the Narcotics Division, working as a Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Coordinator,
an Identity Theft Coordinator and as an investigator in Precinct Detective
Squad, routinely investigating crimes ranging from burglaries to homicides.
Since coming to the Palmetto State, Claxton has worked at Voorhees College in
Denmark, as Director of Safety & Security. He is a Director for the Black
Law Enforcement Alliance and is a national television media contributor on policing
and law enforcement issues, frequently appearing on cable news networks, MSNBC
will report to Richland Two’s Chief Operations Officer. He is married and has