School System Wants More Officers From County

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s coming down to mathematics for a county commission who wants to add school resource officers.

Eleven Lauderdale County schools are protected by one officer, and even the sheriff wants that to change.

Everyday thousands of parents drop off students at schools in Lauderdale County, expecting them to get a top notch education.

In recent months though, security has been on the minds of parents as well as educators.

But it’s the lack of a law enforcement presence at the schools that even has Sheriff Ronnie Willis concerned.

“As big as Lauderdale County is, to try and run from Florence to Waterloo,” explained Willis. “You are looking at 20 minutes running wide open.”

According to Sheriff Ronnie Willis, due to budget cuts in previous years the number of school resource officers in the county has dropped to one.

Along with school superintendent Jennifer Gray, Willis would like to see at least two more officers added to the school system.

“We don’t even have enough on patrol to patrol the county. As big as this county is, we are behind the times and we are trying to catch up,” said Sheriff Willis

The Lauderdale County Commission is in the process of reviewing budgets to try and find money that could possibly make that happen.

Commissioners are expected to discuss funding additional officers in a work session that is set for Tuesday afternoon.

Each additional officer could cost as much as $50,000 including benefits, but could be divided between the school system and county commission.

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