Can Hamilton County afford an SRO in every school?

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Every agency in Hamilton county government is presenting its budget to the mayor and county commission this week.

It’s the annual run-up to adopting a budget for the next fiscal year.

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One of the big topics today was school safety.

The budget hearings didn’t start until after the commissioners meeting this morning. But East Ridge commissioner Tim Boyd stated his wishes for school safety early on.

“I do never want to speak to a constituent, a grandparent, a parent, and try to answer the question: ‘Why does my school not have an SRO?’, and my answer is, No funding?”



Boyd wants an SRO in every all seventy nine schools.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger says he’s looking to the Sheriff to help create the safest environment possible at local schools.

“I look forward to continued dialog with you and the superintendent and with this commission in order to get to the number of SRO’s that we need.”

The sheriff outlined his budget requests and included his proposals for SRO’s and other ways to make schools safer.

“It’s actually in several facets, one, is to put SRO’s in there, that are highly trained to do it, two, is to retrofit the old schools, so you can make them safer, and three is design the new schools with a lot of built in safety features.”

But even if the funding were approved, Hammond says that doesn’t mean that every school will have an SRO in this next school year.

“It is approximately a three month vetting time, to, to find someone, to then do all their thorough background checks to make sure they have no criminal background, they have no psychological issues.”

“They gotta go through the academy, then their field training program, so by the time you get all that done and you can literally cut them loose to go out and be a policeman, you’re eating up from three to six months.

The last budget workshop before the commission begins to debate the budget is next Tuesday morning at 9 am.