HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — On Wednesday, the Madison County Commission authorized agreements for school resource officers at Madison County Schools for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said that this is a process that happens each year. He also acknowledged parents may be on heightened alert due to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Strong said it is important to have school resource officers that students trust.
“They’ve got to be comfortable that they can say ‘hey, there’s something going on here,’ and so you can avert the situation,” Strong told News 19. “But nothing is guaranteed, what we are trying to do is do everything reasonably possible to make our schools safer.”
News 19 spoke with Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner about the agreement. Sheriff Turner said Madison County Schools currently has 18 school resource officers.
Wednesday’s agreement just confirms that there will be officers provided in schools for the upcoming school year, it is not the addition of any more officers.
However, Turner said he wants to make adding additional officers a priority.
“We are gradually getting to our goal of placing a deputy in each school,” Sheriff Turner said. “That is a big deal that is something that we cannot, you know, just put on the back burner we need to focus on getting this done.”
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting split the school resource officer agreements into three separate items. This is due to some school resource officers being employed by the Madison County School District, and the others being employed by the Sheriff’s Office.
Items as listed on the agenda:
- Authorize Chairman to Execute Agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and Madison County Board of Education regarding Part-Time School Resource Officers at Central School, Riverton Intermediate School, and Hazel Green Elementary School (Sheriff)
- Authorize Chairman to Execute Agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and Madison County Board of Education regarding School Resource Officers at Madison County High School, Buckhorn High School, New Hope High School, Madison Cross Roads Elementary School, Riverton Elementary School, Moores
Mill Intermediate School, Meridianville Middle School, Endeavor Elementary School, Sparkman High School, and Sparkman Ninth Grade (Sheriff)
- Authorize Chairman to Execute Agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and Madison County Board of Education regarding School Resource Officers at Buckhorn Middle School, Hazel Green High School, Monrovia Middle School, Sparkman Middle School, Harvest Elementary School, Sparkman Ninth Grade and
Owens Cross Roads Elementary (Sheriff)
However, Sheriff Turner said all resource officers go through the same training.
“They are Sheriff’s deputies,” he said. “We hire them, they go through the same police academy and everything. They can work patrol, they can work resource officer, so it’s just a matter of where we place them.”
Turner explained the Sheriff’s Office only provides school resource officers to county schools. Madison City Schools and Huntsville City Schools are staffed by police officers from those districts.
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