No tax increase in Hamilton County but how will they put officers in every school?

Hamilton County, TN (WDEF) – After a lengthy discussion Wednesday morning, Hamilton County Commissioners passed Mayor Jim Coppinger’s $833,000,000 balanced county budget with no tax increase.

It was approved by an 8 to 0 vote with Commissioner Geter absent.

Mayor Coppinger pointed out that the county faced some significant financial challenges due to the coronavirus and tornadoes over the past fiscal year.

The county will get $71,000,000 from the federal government, half of which has already arrived.

But most of the 3 hour meeting was taken up with a discussion on how to find, train and hire additional SRO’s and SSO’s for county schools.

There are 37 sheriff’s office SRO positions budgeted, but only 28 on the job.

Commissioners would like to see one at every one of the 79 schools.

“The public needs to know and understand, this commission is very clear, certainly our office is very clear, the sheriff is very clear, the board of education is very clear we want security in every building ..we’ve just got to figure out how to get there and we’ve got to do it reasonably. Where it doesn’t put an undeserved burden on the tax-payer to fund something we can’t get people to do yet.”

The SRO vs SSO debate comes down to training versus costs.

The School Resource Officer gets the full training of a law enforcement officer, but that costs more.

The school system put together this video to show what the School Safety Officer program is like.

 

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