Lauderdale School System Hires Additional SRO

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Lauderdale County school system is one-step closer to having each campus protected by a law enforcement officer.

With a recent vote by the school board, the number of officers protecting students essentially doubled, but it’s not a number the superintendent is happy with.

Since the December school shooting deaths in Connecticut, school systems across the valley and the nation have spent lots of time re-evaluating their particular safety plans.

Some school systems have even brought in consultants to look for vulnerabilities.

Lauderdale County Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gray stated, “It’s unfortunate that the tragedy at Sandy Hook has really caused a whole different perspective on what we are doing.”

According to Gray, as large as Lauderdale County is, it could take well over an hour for one officer to travel between campuses.

To help with response times, the school system along with the county commission recently hired a second school resource officer.

“That one officer was on some day’s running back and forth, so this will ease the burden on him,” explained Gray. “Plus, provide a presence in more schools more often.”

But according to Superintendent Gray, she is still not happy with only having two school resource officers to cover 11-campuses.

Gray stated her next step is to approach the Lauderdale County Commission later this year to ask for more funds to hire additional school resource officers.

Additionally, Superintendent Gray said the system is also looking for grants to help hire other SRO’s for the system.

Hiring retired police officers is also an option the school system is looking into.