Campbell County considering officers in elementary schools

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Right now, Campbell County has School Resource Officers in every high school and middle school - and school board member Rector Miller wants to expand that to elementary schools.

"I think it's a good idea because I've got kids in there and I know they'll be safe. I have a six-year-old son that goes there, I've got a five-year-old nephew and I have a four-year-old nephew who will be going there next year. So if it takes someone to protect them, I'd be cool with it," said William Showalter, whose kids attend Jacksboro Elementary School.

Miller said the school system would need to hire eight more officers to have one in each school, but funding is an issue. He said SROs cost about $40,000 a year including benefits, which is why he's hopeful the school system will consider hiring retired officers instead.

"A lot of these retired people are already drawing benefits and it's a way the system can possibly save money and put additional people in, rather than going the Safety Resource Officer route," said Miller.

But it would still cost money, and Miller is proposing cutting the school system's workplace safety and athletic director position, held by Johnny Bruce. Bruce's salary and benefits add up to about $80,000, but the Director of Schools said that's not an option.

"He's as busy as anyone we've got as far as his position is concerned - someone would have to do it, or someones plural would have to do those jobs if he wasn't in that position. And I think the position pretty much is warranted," said Donnie Poston, Director of Schools for Campbell County.

Like Miller, Poston wants officers in the elementary schools:

"I think it's going to happen, the how and the when has yet to be determined," he said.

Miller thinks the time is now, and wants the officers included in the upcoming budget.

Poston said all of the county's schools will get new locks this summer and some will also get keyless entry and buzzer systems.

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