Sheriff proposes license plate tax to pay for SROs in county, city schools

Decatur
Data pix.

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. -  Fees normally come with buying a car and registering it, but the Morgan County Sheriff wants to apply a new fee to help protect your children.

"Sheriff Puckett has proposed to our local legislative delegation the idea of adding a fee to car tags," explained Mike Swafford, spokesperson for the sheriff's office.

Each year, more than 150 thousand car tags are purchased in Morgan County

"Money would go to fund SROs for county and city school systems," Swafford added. "We currently have a need for SROs that we've been unable to fill."

The $10-15 proposed fee would allow law enforcement to go from only assigning retired officers to school resource officer duties,  to hiring full time certified deputies and officers for the jobs.

"What we currently deal with is we have six deputies supporting 14 campuses," said Swafford. "You see from those numbers no school is fully secured by an SRO all hours that it's open."

Hartselle City Schools has four SROs for six schools and Decatur City schools have 10 but need 9 more.

"We do know that any time it hits somebody's pocketbook we want to make sure its thoroughly flushed out," said Swafford.

Sheriff Puckett has laid out the proposal to local legislative delegates and they will decide whether to implement the idea.

"Should it pass it would go into effect, we assume, sometime in the fall or the beginning of the new fiscal year," Swafford explained.

If passed, in its first year the fee could generate more than a $1 million dollars towards new SRO hires.

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