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      Magistrate to take over Georgetown school security position

      The potential for shootings and bombings is the new reality for school districts.

      This week, the Georgetown County School District hired a judge, former policeman and former school resource officer to take over its newly-expanded role as head of security.

      The shooting deaths of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut had an impact on millions of Americans, including Alan Walters, a magistrate in Georgetown County traffic court.

      The Newtown tragedy was one reason why Walters, a former Georgetown city police officer and county sheriff's deputy, decided it was time for a career change, to become the school district's new security director.

      Plus, Walters has two sons in Georgetown schools.

      "And so like every parent, I wanted to make sure that our kids can learn and our teachers can teach without being distracted, worrying about their safety," Walters said.

      Walters has training as a SWAT team member and crisis negotiator, and has taught courthouse security to judges around the country.

      "There is a lot of similarity between protecting courthouses and protecting schools," he said.

      Georgetown schools have spent nearly a million dollars on safety measures, beefing up security and adding resource officers at elementary schools.

      The superintendent says the security director's job has expanded dramatically and the district wanted someone who could work closely with law enforcement.

      "Being able to communicate, to problem solve, to walk through buildings and inspect buildings and pick up problems and then come back and solve those issues," said Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier.

      Walters says the district has been proactive in addressing security. He hopes to take it up a notch.

      "I've seen the other side of the bad things that could potentially happen if the right precautions aren't made," Walters said.

      Walter's goals include hardening school entrances, to make it tougher for an intruder to get in, and stepping up security training for students and staff.

      He says Horry County and other large school districts have security directors, too, but the added responsibilities for the risk manager's position is new for Georgetown Schools.