Hamilton County mayoral candidates weigh in on SROs

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — The two candidates for Hamilton County Mayor are weighing in on what they think about School Resource Officers.

Hamilton County School’s will soon see more school resource officers. In Mayor Jim Coppinger’s proposed budget, 7 SROs will be added. Chief Deputy Allen Branum, with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, say this helps.

“We now have all high schools and middle schools covered. As we continue our plans, security plans we hope over the next few years to continue adding SROs, to continue adding programs that are more appropriate to the elementary school aged,” Branum said.

Mayor Coppinger says we have to look at school safety as a whole.

“Obviously SROs are important in our schools, but also the fact of how we secure our schools. And so we are working with them simultaneously in really relying upon the sheriff and his input as well as the superintendent to determine how we budget and how we go forward,” Mayor Coppinger said.

In order to get SROs in all the schools, Mayor Coppinger says it wouldn’t only take funding, but also hiring and training the right people.

“Well, I mean it seems to be exactly where the sheriff wants to go, eventually, but as he said to us, it is a very specialized group of people that are SROs as he has told us in this budget if we were even able to fund it this point in time, he wouldn’t be able to get enough personnel to be able to actually fill those positions,” he said.

Aloyse Brown who is running against Coppinger for Hamilton County Mayor wants SROs in elementary schools.

“I believe all schools are at risk when we consider an attack, God forbid any of our schools join our ranks in the massacres that have gone on across the country. Sandy Hook did happen and I do believe we need to protect our elementary students as well,” Brown said.

She thinks it is possible.

“It is our community’s priority to keep our children safe and there are other places that maybe we don’t need to be spending money next year and make sure that we are aligned with the needs of our community,” Brown said.

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