Cherokee County School Police Department

Mark E. Kissel

Chief of Police
P.O. Box 769
Canton, GA. 30169
  Georgia Law permits local boards of education to employ school security personnel whose duties include the enforcement of laws; the preservation of public order; the protection of life and property and the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime.

School safety and security for the Cherokee County School System began in 1971 when A.J. Waters was approved by the Cherokee County Board of Education as a security officer for Cherokee High School. At that time, Cherokee High was the only high school in the county and had a student population of approximately two thousand eight hundred. Officer Waters was later certified as a peace officer through the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and worked in this capacity until 1981.

In 1976, Daniel Ivey was approved by the Cherokee County Board of Education as a security officer for the newly built Etowah High School. Officer Ivey, as a certified peace officer and acting under the supervision of Assistant Superintendent Milford Mason took positive steps to create a campus police department. The Cherokee County Board of Education officially created the campus police department in 1983 thereby authorizing the principals of each high school to hire security officers for their schools. Over the years, each of the four high schools acquired security officers to monitor the hallways, lunchrooms and the student parking lots.

In March, 1999 upon the recommendation of Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools a police chief was hired to insure that all students and staff have a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning. The first assignment for Chief Mark E. Kissel was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of major safety and security issues and challenges facing the Cherokee County School District.

As a result of this assessment, the following safety / security initiatives have been recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the School Board:
  1. Creation and establishment of a School Police Department with a clear mission statement, new job descriptions for School Police Officers, screening procedures, competitive salaries, a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures Manual and an extensive training program for all officers.
  2. Comprehensive background investigations of school police officers (including criminal/driving histories, polygraph, psychological evaluation, medical and drug screen testing.
  3. Specific training in the following areas being completed by all police officers: Civil Liability, Criminal Law, Search and Seizure, Defensive Tactics, Juvenile Procedures, Incident Reporting, Use of Force Policy, Firearms Policy, OC Spray certification, ASP baton certification, Firearms qualification, First Aid/CPR certification, Advanced Interpersonal Communications Skills training, and Investigation Training with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
  4. New police vehicles and uniforms have been issued and Oath of Office administered to officers.
  5. On-site inspections of all school facilities have been conducted in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
  6. Implementation of a “Chart of Incidents” form that is designed to ensure uniform reporting by establishing categories of incidents to be reported and required reporting and follow-up procedures for each.
School Police officers have been assigned to each high school and middle school and have been assigned responsibility for specific elementary schools and other facilities within the System. School principals have been given additional portable radios for use by teachers on the playgrounds, hand-held metal detectors and pro-active procedures have been implemented to ensure a proper response to any crisis that may occur.

Cherokee County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices.