The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 1, 2013

Commission OKs additional SRO funding

County, school system to split $240K cost

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— The Limestone County Commission has approved splitting the $240,000 cost of hiring 12 part-time, retired officers with Limestone County Schools to boost school security following the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting.

During Monday’s meeting, the commission voted 3-1 to authorize paying $120,000 to hire officers as contract employees under the supervision of the Sheriff’s Office.

The county and school system each pay slightly more than $258,000 for seven full-time school resource officers assigned to the six county high schools — Ardmore, Clements, East Limestone, Elkmont, Tanner and West Limestone — and the Limestone County Career Technical Center.

The retired officers will likely rotate assignments at the six stand-alone elementary schools at Blue Springs, Cedar Hill, Creekside, Johnson, Owens and Piney Chapel, according to Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk.

Elkmont, Tanner and West are K-12 schools, and each have a full-time officer assigned to their campuses.

Approving the measure in early April likely will allow the Sheriff’s Office and school system to have the new officers in place when the 2013-14 school year begins in August, Sisk said.

The Sheriff’s Office requires all SROs to have up-to-date certification from the Alabama Police Officers Standards and Training and the National Association of School Resource Officers.