MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- The Madison County Sheriff's Office is helping to ensure the safety of students in the county school system. The department plans to fund three new school resource officers for the district for the 2015-16 school year.
Madison County schools first implemented school resource officers in 2008.
"It's essential in this day and time," said Chief Deputy Dave Jernigan.
The sheriff's office used its own data to determine the best locations for the new SROs. One will be based at Madison County High School, while the other two will work out of middle schools. Jernigan said the added positions will bring the total to eight school resource officers for the system's 29 schools.
"What we do is divide up the number of school resource officers based on the demand to cover all the 29 schools."
The district will have to cover the cost for only the officers' phones and office supplies because the three positions will be funded thanks to the department's pistol permit revenue.
"That fund allows us to fund initiatives that are for the betterment of law enforcement," said Jernigan.
The sheriff's office and the district also recently teamed up to establish a tip line further utilizing the SROs. Students can text or anonymously email concerns or incidents in the schools.
"We can keep deputies on the road and things that are involving the school can be covered by the SROs," said Jernigan. "It just makes sense because our kids are a very precious commodity and we want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to protect them."
He said the presence of SROs helps to foster vital relationships between students and law enforcement.
"We want to make sure we get the kids at the right age, make sure that they know law enforcement is a friend of theirs and try to head off any type of problems that might happen in our schools."