Jefferson County Plans More Resource Officers In Schools

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From left, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, Commission President Jimmie Stephens and Supt. Craig Pouncey announce plans to place more resource officers in county schools.
From left, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, Commission President Jimmie Stephens and Supt. Craig Pouncey announce plans to place more resource officers in county schools.

Sherrel Wheeler Stewart,WBHM 90.3 FM

Jefferson County law enforcement and education officials announced a plan Thursday to put school resource officers in all 56 county schools.

Less than half of the county’s public schools have resource officers. That means some schools have to share an SRO. For example, the announcement was made at Minor Community School in unincorporated Jefferson County. That school shares an SRO with Minor High School and two other schools according to the school superintendent.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale says he hopes to soon have a contract resource officer for Minor Community School and all other schools.

Twelve new resource officers will start training next week, he says. Hale hopes that retired officers will be attracted to the opportunity.

Gov. Kay Ivey has approved the Sentry Program, a voluntary program that would allow educators trained in handling weapons to use them against an intruder in the absence of an officer. Hale says he supports the Second Amendment, but believes placing sworn officers in the schools will make schools safer.

Hale says it’s going to cost an additional $1.2 million to $1.5 million. That cost will be covered by Jefferson County and the county school system, he says.

In addition to the resource officers, the plan also calls for development of threat assessment teams. These teams include sheriff’s department investigators, mental health workers and school officials who can identify troubling behavior in students and develop resources for managing those challenges.