Policeman hired for Warren Central

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 26, 2010

Both high schools in the Vicksburg Warren School District will have a full-time law enforcement officer on campus after James Edward Lee Jr. reports to Warren Central High School on April 1.

Lee, who has been a member of the Vicksburg Police Department, will become an employee of the district and paid $36,000 annually with grant funds.

The district’s other high school, Vicksburg High, is in the city limits and has long had a VPD officer assigned to the school at city expense.

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Warren Central, on Mississippi 27, is outside the corporate limits and thus ineligible for a city officer.

Lee, father to six children, three boys and three girls ranging from 1 to 12 years old, has experience, having previously been assigned as school resource officer at Vicksburg High. His hiring was unanimously approved by school trustees Thursday night.

“I always had an interest in helping educate young kids,” Lee said in an interview. “I had originally studied biology education at Alcorn State, and I was also interested in law enforcement.”

A native of Fayette, Lee moved to Vicksburg in 2003 to work at a casino. A promotion led him to a second casino, and he joined the Vicksburg police force in 2006.

He and his wife, La-Freda Lee, a deputy clerk at the police department, are members of Mount Carmel Ministries.

Both schools employ private security firms for daily campus access monitoring and for athletic events. At larger events, additional officers from the VPD and Warren County Sheriff’s Department work traffic and crowd control.

Sworn officers may be armed and have the authority to make custodial arrests.

Also Thursday, the five trustees, elected from supervisor districts, chose officers.

Chosen president was Zelmarine Murphy, the longest-serving member of the board. Tommy Shelton was re-elected vice president and Joe Loviza, secretary.

Trustees also approved a request by South Park Elementary School principal Dr. Wanda Fears to add the school to the list of district facilities served by GCA Custodial Services.

GCA was awarded a bid years ago to provide custodians to schools in the district at the discretion of the principal, Superintendent Dr. James Price said. Five use GCA, called a less expensive option because the company provides its own supplies, does summer floor waxing and provides workers compensation insurance.

“But we leave it up to the principals because we do feel an obligation to our staff,” Price said. “Many of them (staff custodians) have been here a long time, and they do a good job. They interact with the children, they’re another set of eyes and ears and they are nurturing to the kids.”

Contact Pamela Hitchins at phitchins@vicksburgpost.com