August 30, 2017 Edition

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Hoxie adds school resource
officer position

TJ Marlin, the new resource officer at Hoxie School, visits with HHS sophomore Hayden Riggs on Friday.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Gretchen Hunt

TJ Marlin was recently hired as the new school resource officer at Hoxie School. A 1993 graduate of Hoxie High School, he has a long career in law enforcement, mostly in Lawrence County.

In 1997, he began working at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department as a jailer. He worked his way up to a deputy in 1999 and went to the police academy at Black River Technical College in 2000.

He specialized in K-9 and drug and narcotics investigation both at the LCSD and at the Craighead County Sheriff's Department, where he worked from 2009-2011.

Marlin, who lives in Jonesboro with his wife and two sons, said he took a job at Craighead County to be closer to where they were living, but he found himself missing working in the Lawrence County community.

In 2011, he returned to the county to work for the Hoxie Police Department as a patrolman and code enforcement officer.

When the Hoxie School Board voted to add a school resource officer for the 2017-18 school year, he applied and was selected for the position.

Marlin said there has been some discussion about possibly adding a position for the past few years and it is a job he has always been interested in.

"It's always been a job that I've wanted to do," he said. "It's really a dream job for me."

Marlin said he hopes to finish out his law enforcement career in the position.

While the position offers a different pace than being a patrol officer, it still has plenty to keep Marlin busy.

"I'm responsible for the safety of all the students, staff, faculty, basically the whole campus," he said. "There's a lot of responsibility that comes with this.

Plans for the future include active shooter training for the faculty and possibly developing a DARE program at the school.

The SRO position is a partnership between the school and the sheriff's department. The LCSD provides a vehicle, while the school pays Marlin's salary and expenses.

"I'm sworn in as a Lawrence County deputy, but I'm assigned to Hoxie School as the resource officer," he said.

He said everyone at the school has been very welcoming, and the students seem to be adapting well to having an SRO on the campus.

"I've gotten some hugs and high fives," he said. "It really makes the job worth it."

While he has his office in the high school, he spends most of his time out and about on campus. He said he sees his main responsibilities as being to protect the school and to be a mentor to the students.

"I want the kids to understand I'm here for them," Marlin said.

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