School Board gives $72,000 for resource officers

By Lesley Jenkins
Star Staff
ljenkins@starhq.com

  
For the 2003-2004 school year the Carter County School System will receive $52,329 from the Safe Schools Act as administered by the State of Tennessee and $14,000 from Title IV Safe and Drug Free Federal Program towards an annual $72,000 payment to the Sheriff's Office. From the Sheriff's budget additional funds are added to provide four School Resource Officers based at the local high schools. In addition to the $4,671 paid from local school funds to the sheriff for SROs additional expenditures are made on video and other security equipment.
   Currently, the Carter County School System and the Carter County Sheriff's Department maintain a uniformed officer in each of the four high schools. Officers are available for classroom participation and for general public safety activities in the school and in the community. This has met with approval of school administrators, the Sheriff's Department, parents and students.
   Carter County Sheriff John Henson accepted a check from Director of Schools Dallas Williams on Wednesday to help with funding the SROs.
   Henson said, "I am proud to be able to work with the school system, who has went out of their way to post these officers in the their schools. I know that we couldn't do this without them. They have been very supportive and without their help there is no way I can do it."
   Williams said the officers have helped out tremendously at the schools and have helped in numerous situations. "Sometimes students will talk to these officers about a problem before they would a teacher."
   The principals report that the officers stationed at the high schools have produced positive results. Incidents of fighting, theft, vandalism, and tobacco use have decreased. The officers have also spoken to classes on school safety, drug use, gang activity, and traffic safety regulations.
   The resource officers have also assisted principals in writing school safety plans and developing security plans for after school activities such as sporting events and graduation ceremonies.
   Williams added Henson "is and will always be a friend of the school system."