PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Putnam County’s Sheriff has a warning for anyone intending to cause harm at one of the area’s schools.

Sheriff Eddie Farris issued the message in a release sent out on Monday. The statement on school safety comes less than a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two adults.

Sheriff Eddie Farris
Sheriff Eddie Farris (Courtesy: Putnam County Sheriff’s Office)

“Our Student Resource Deputies and SWAT are the most highly trained Deputies within the United States, including in the areas of active shooter situations and other violent crimes against the public.” Farris wrote. “If you are a bad guy and come into our schools with a gun, or any other kind of weapon, with the intention of causing harm to our faculty or children, our deputies will eliminate you immediately.”

Farris added that their deputies are trained toward the threat, “even if it costs them their own lives in order to keep our children safe. We will not wait on backup, including other law enforcement or SWAT. If we have not eliminated the threat by the time other law enforcement arrives, then we have failed at what we’re trained to do.”

Farris, who provides the Student Resource deputies for the schools, wrote that children’s safety is their priority, “Let me be clear: there is nothing more important [than] our children’s safety and we will take whatever action necessary to accomplish this task.”

Putnam County schools ended the 2021-2022 school year on May 27, three days after the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas. The new school year will begin at the end of July.

You can read Sheriff Farris’s statement in its entirety below:

“Due to the recent school shootings, the latest occurring in Texas, as your Sheriff, who provides the Student Resource Deputies in each of the public schools in Putnam County, I want to provide a message to anyone thinking about committing an act of violence that would harm our children or faculty at our schools.

Our Student Resource Deputies and SWAT are the most highly trained Deputies within the United States, including in the areas of active shooter situations and other violent crimes against the public. If you are a bad guy and come into our schools with a gun, or any other kind of weapon, with the intention of causing harm to our faculty or children, our Deputies will eliminate you immediately.

Our Deputies are trained to run towards the threat / violence no matter the cost – even if it costs them their own lives in order to keep our children safe. We will not wait on backup, including other law enforcement or SWAT. If we have not eliminated the threat by the time other law enforcement arrives, then we have failed at what we’re trained to do.

Let me be clear: there is nothing more important [than] our children’s safety and we will take whatever action necessary to accomplish this task.”

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Last week, Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order aimed at strengthening school safety in Tennessee, that requires things like new active shooter training standards for police, more frequent and unannounced security assessments at every public school, and new safety plans and resource guides for parents and teachers to be issued ahead of the upcoming school year. The order did not include plans for stricter gun laws in Tennessee.