With School Resource Officers (SROs) hard to find, the county schools are turning to armed security officers.
The schools are making plans to hire up to 10 security officers that would be placed mainly at the elementary schools. Most of the high schools and middle schools are covered by SROs, it was stated.
The officers would receive extensive training from Dr. James Corbin, the newly hired county school security director. They would patrol inside the buildings as well as the grounds. They would not provide counseling to students as SROs sometimes do.
The officers initially would be funded from money set aside for more SROs.
They would be paid $35,000 to $40,000, plus benefits.
It is expected they would be at the schools by late February or early March.
Supt. Bryan Johnson said the Sheriff's Office is having trouble coming up with SROs. He said, "Because of the job market, they've got a long runway to get those folks."
Board member Joe Smith, who has been urging beefing up school security, welcomed the move. He said he was recently at Dalton Junior and Dalton High. He said, "You would have better luck getting into the Oak Ridge nuclear facility."