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 this is a process that happens every year. He also acknowledged that parents may be on heightened alert due to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Strong said it’s important to have school resource officers that students trust.
“They have to be comfortable being able to say ‘hey, something’s going on here’ and so you can avoid the situation,” Strong told News 19. “But nothing is guaranteed, which is what we’re trying to do is do everything reasonably possible to make our schools safer.
News 19 spoke to Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner about the deal. Sheriff Turner said schools in Madison County currently have 18 school resource officers.
Wednesday’s agreement merely confirms that there will be officers supplied to schools for the coming school year, it is not the addition of additional officers.
However, Turner said he wanted to make adding more officers a priority.
“We are gradually getting to our goal of placing a deputy in every school,” Sheriff Turner said. “It’s a big deal that we can’t, you know, just put on the back burner, we have to focus on making that happen.”
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting broke the school resource officer agreements into three separate items. This is because some School Resource Officers are employed by the Madison County School District and the rest are employed by the Sheriff’s Office.
Items as listed on the agenda:
- Authorize the president to sign an agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and the Madison County School Board regarding part-time school resource officers at Central School, Riverton Intermediate School, and Hazel Green Elementary School (Sheriff )
- Authorize the President to sign an agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and the Madison County School Board regarding school resource officers at Madison County High School, Buckhorn High School, High School New Hope, 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 the President to sign an agreement with the Madison County Sheriff and the Madison County School Board regarding School Resource Officers at Buckhorn Middle School, Hazel Green Middle 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’re sheriff’s deputies,” he said. “We hire them, they go through the same police academy and everything. They can work on patrol, they can work as a resource officer, so it’s just a matter of where we place them.
Turner explained that the sheriff’s office only provides school resource officers to county schools. City of Madison Schools and City of Huntsville Schools are staffed by police officers from those districts.
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