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How this police school liaison is working to build relationships in Petersburg

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Sgt. Greg Battle is a 10-year veteran with Petersburg Police but nowadays he finds himself walking the halls of every public school in the city. Battle is the new police school liaison.

"I thought it was an excellent opportunity. I love working with kids so, it was perfect, a perfect match for me," said Battle.

Battle’s role is the liaison between the police department and the school system. It's different than the role of the school resource officer and its target is young students.

"We're trying to strengthen our partnership with the school, and we have a presence in all the schools now as opposed to before," said Battle.

Sgt. Greg Battle

Battle will work at all the schools, but unlike school resource officers, he won't be in uniform.

"We discussed this early on and we thought it was a wonderful idea for him to be in plain clothes if you will because we really do want to send a message, that these are all folks here to help you," said Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin, superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools.

"We want to have a softer approach when we're in the schools and talking to the kids and they've been really receptive to our approach," said Battle.

While he'll walk the halls of all the schools, elementary schools are the primary focus.

"We want our students to learn at an earlier age, the importance of building relations with our community agencies and the police department is a critical agency for us," added Pitre-Martin.

Sgt. Greg Battle

Sgt Battle talks with students, parents, teachers, and administrators and while that is important, ultimately the goal is to make sure that kids have a safe learning environment.

“That's what it’s all about for us,” said Battle.

Petersburg School officials will meet with parents to discuss school and community safety Tuesday night at the Petersburg Public Library. Part of that plan includes the addition of the new police school liaison.

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