MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Before students get back in the classroom, county officials are working to ensure the schools are safe. The best ways to ensure school safety have been widely debated, but Madison County schools say they have it figured out.
As Madison County students head back to school on August 1st, school resource officers will be heading back as well.
"School resource officers are something that you've got to have at schools, especially the ones that have very large populations," said Dale Strong, Madison County Commission Chairman.
The Madison County Commission will continue its partnership with the Madison County Sheriffs Department, and Madison County schools, to bring school resource officers to the high school and middle schools in Madison County.
"The teachers can only do so much, the guidance counselors can help, but the big this is these school resource officers have proven to be very beneficial," said Strong.
Madison County school resource officers are deputy sheriffs who are on campus eight hours a day, five days a week during the academic school year.
"Madison County is proactive by what we're doing, rather than waiting to see what everybody else is doing. We've been doing this for years," Strong said. The Madison County school resource officer program started in 2008 with a single school resource officer.
"What we've done here so far has worked. Of course, we're putting a certified police officer, sheriffs deputy in these schools," said Strong. "They are armed not only with deadly force, they're also armed with tasers and you hope of course that you don't ever have to use that."
Strong said armed officers are the best way to protect students from potential danger.
"I can tell you a Motorola radio and a can of pepper spray will not do the job if something arises, so I support this 100 percent," Strong said.
He said SROs work about 10 months a year at the schools, and the school board pays that salary. The Madison County Commission and Sheriff's Office pay their salary when school is not in session.