Monday, February 26, 2018

Decatur Co Commission To Consider Armed Officers In Every School


DECATURVILLE, TN- A measure that would place armed officers in all Decatur County schools will be discussed at a meeting of the county commission Monday night.
Following the recent school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead, the topic of school safety is front and center in all across America. Decatur County is no different.

The Decatur County Commission is meeting tonight  in regular session. Decatur County Sheriff Keith Byrd and County Mayor Mike Creasy both told WOPC HD News that a discussion will be held about putting deputies in each of the county schools.

Byrd says that when he came into office in 2014 he put a School Resource Officer at Riverside High School. The sheriff said, "we should have already placed them at the other schools."

"This is an important issue and it must be addressed but we do have some hurdles to jump" Byrd said. He added that Decatur County deputy sheriffs are "possibly the lowest paid in the state."

Byrd says with the rate of pay for his staff being so low its hard for him to hire and retain deputies.

The sheriff said that he currently doesn't have the staffing to fill those positions "If they give us the funding tonight,  unless I can find a certified officer,  it will most likely be next year before we can have them in the schools","You can't put an unlicensed driver in a school bus and you can't put an officer with no training in a school."

Byrd said if he had to hire new officers it would take a minimum of three months to get them certified.

Sheriff Byrd said "We have become a training ground for other counties, we train them and they go somewhere else to make more money and I can't blame them", "I recently had a deputy turn in his notice and go across the street and make more money with E-911, the County Commission is going to have to address this matter."

Byrd stressed, "I am all for putting officers in school, I want to do it, but we have to be able to find a way to retain them after we hire them."

It's estimated it will $200,000 to outfit, equip and train the 3 new deputies in the first year.

Decatur County Mayor Mike Creasy told WOPC HD News that the county will look at putting officers in schools for the "short-term or the remainder of the school year" but added, "there will be a need for a more long-term comprehensive plan going beyond the current school year."

The Decatur County Commission meets Monday night at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Decaturville.