Keeping our kids safe at schools can be a challenge at times, but never too big of a challenge for one man at the top of the campus police for the Savannah-Chatham County public schools.
Now, after nearly three decades with Campus Police, he's stepping down. Chief Ulysses Bryant explains after 16 years as chief, he wants to leave on a high note.
Chief Bryant has walked the halls of the board of education for 29 years; he's lucky to able to walk at all.
"During my tour with the Chatham County Police Dept., April 18, 1980, on a Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., I got run over by a vehicle on Ogeechee Road." Bryant remembers.
He says he was helping a soldier with his disabled car, when another driver came up on them both.
"I grabbed the soldier, and pushed him out of the way, leaving me in the middle of the road."
Doctors said he'd never walk quite right again, but five years later he got back on the police beat with the school district as a dispatcher, making $6.51 an hour.
Twelve years later, the BOE called upon Bryant to put together a brand new plan on how to keep students safe. Bryant's plan resulted in what we know as the Savannah Chatham Campus Police Dept.
"It was an exciting time for me because I got a chance to revitalize the police department," he said.
He also knew they were on a tight budget, so when the district bought brand new cars for the department, Bryant loaded up his officers on a school bus, headed to Roswell, Georgia, and then drove the cars back to Savannah, just so he could save the shipping cost.
Today, he's got 22 officers with at least one at each middle and high school and he is working to get them in every elementary school as well. He believes officer or not, there should be one person in every school that a student can confide in.
"My officers are very creative in that regard, they tend to speak their language and they know the culture of what's going on with the internet. We actually go that extra mile; we're more than a badge and a gun," Bryant said.
For now - he's turning in his badge and gun, making way for the next leader of the campus police.
"They're going to inherit a well developed, well functioning police agency." He said. "In reflection, it's been a wonderful experience."
Chief Bryant is getting his master's degree and may return to school as a teacher. Twenty people have applied for the chief's position. The Board of Education could approve who will step into his roll at the next meeting.
Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.