NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been over a week since the deadly shooting at The Covenant School.
“I think about it every day,” said Greg Mays. “I think about those families, and I’ll continue to be troubled by it for a while.”
Preparing for the worst is something Mays is constantly thinking about.
“I come from a career, a background of expecting the bad things to happen and trying to prevent them from happening,” he said.
Mays is the director of the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security and focuses heavily on school safety in Tennessee schools.
“I have just a small handful of agents across the great state of Tennessee, all 95 counties,” he said. “Some agents right now are responsible for eight or 10 counties alone.”
On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee announced a new bill to strengthen school safety measures.
He also laid out a budget proposal that includes spending $30 million to add 122 Homeland Security agents in every school district in the state.
“The Homeland Security agents in every county are in no way taking over school security, and in no way are we usurping the role and importance of the SROs,” said Mays.
Mays said their agents would work with the SROs and other school leaders, operating as an extra resource for school districts.
“We don’t want the SRO to have to leave the school to go do an investigation, so Homeland Security is there to help, to provide resources, to assist, to bring people together and these threat assessment teams,” he said.
If this all gets approved, Mays said they will be able to oversee more threat assessment reviews, provide more training resources, and help school districts that have lacked these critical things in the past.
“In some places in Tennessee, they don’t have those resources,” he said. “Right now, they don’t even have enough resources to put an SRO in every school, so they need that added boost. They need someone there to help bring things together and assist, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Mays said they would also work to help private schools with more agents as well.
He said since The Covenant School shooting, their office has seen an uptick in requests from private schools for security assessments and resources.