Funding questions for additional SROs continue to loom - WKRN News 2

Funding questions for additional SROs continue to loom


As several local counties plan for additional armed school officers, questions continue to loom about funding.

Will the districts ask more money from you, or might there be help from the state or Washington?

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, three large counties around Nashville are looking at funding more armed officers or SROs in elementary schools.

"To me, these are probably the most important hires I have made since becoming sheriff," Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long said Monday before the Williamson County Commission's budget committee.

Williamson County recently recommended $2.5 million for 32-new SROs to be placed in each of the county's elementary schools.

The SRO proposals seem to have large, passionate support in Williamson, Rutherford and Sumner counties not only from law enforcement, but educators, parents and students.

"It's a great idea because we will have someone there if anything ever happen," a Williamson County fourth grade student said.  

A future problem for more SROs is the money being considered in the three Nashville suburban counties is funding plans is only for one year.

"How we continue that funding process down the road will be a whole new ball game," Williamson County Mayor Rogers said. "Federal funding could be an interesting journey."

Rogers said he hopes the state of Tennessee might be more receptive.

Republican Lt. Governor and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey did not sound too supportive this week of funding help.

"No, that is something these local districts need to decide on their own," Ramsey said Wednesday.

Lamar Alexander who has been Tennessee's governor, U.S. Education Secretary and now U.S. Senator, dismisses any federal help for more elementary SROS

"The question about whether or not to have an armed officer in a school needs to be decided by local school districts," Alexander told reporters during a trip Wednesday to the Tennessee's Capitol Hill. "That's because local school districts are funded 90% by state and local funds."

It's clear that local school districts who want more SROs will have to do lobbying if they look for help at the state or federal level.

Rutherford County is considering 11 SROs new at the cost of $1.2 million, equipping each elementary school with an officer. SROs are already in place at the county's high and middle schools.

Sumner County is also looking at spending $3.5 million for more than 40 new SROs.

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