Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond Addresses Hamilton County School Board
Hamilton County, TN – Earlier tonight, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond addressed the topic of school safety with the Hamilton County School Board.
During his comments, Sheriff Hammond offered suggestions to help improve school security and safety measures that could be implemented in our public schools to help protect our students from acts of violence.
“After the most recent tragic and horrific events that occurred in Florida at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, our Nation, especially our law enforcement and educational systems, have once again been forced to re-evaluate the safety of our students and how we address violence in our public schools,” stated Sheriff Jim Hammond. “There are many ideas that have been offered from every side of the political system. Nevertheless, I believe the main objective is clear – we must protect our children and harden our schools against violence.”
Sheriff Hammond stated that he believes first and foremost, every public school in Hamilton County should have a fully trained, P.O.S.T certified School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to each campus. Currently, the HCSO has (31) SRO’s in (29) local schools. In order to hire, train, and station enough additional SRO’s to cover the remaining schools in the Hamilton County System, would require an estimated (additional) cost of $4 million dollars.
“There are some critical decisions that are going to have to be made that could include additional resources and funding by local officials,” stated Sheriff Hammond. “These decisions may include hardening our local schools, retro-fitting existing schools with upgraded security and surveillance measures, and considering every option on the table. Other possibilities to consider include hiring more SRO’s, training students and teachers in safety protocols, hiring private security or military veterans, or the possibility of arming qualified teachers.” It was later discussed that whatever decisions are made, it could take weeks and even months to implement the required changes.
In conclusion, the sheriff noted the problems we are facing as a Nation pertaining to school violence do not stem from a “Gun Problem” as so many people are now trying to conclude... What is causing violence in our schools is a “People Problem.” “In order to deal with the problem of school violence that is affecting our nation, we must look at the source… whether that be mental illness, foreign or domestic terrorism, a lack of parenting, or a lack of spiritual and/or moral guidance.”
“As your sheriff, I am here tonight to say it is imperative that we work together, as long as it takes, to find the best way forward in order to protect our community’s greatest assets, our children.“