Officers in schools already proving valuable

Published 10:43am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

I felt the same as many folks in Shelby County when I heard about the Feb. 12 incident at Chelsea Middle School allegedly involving a man who brought a gun into the school.

This hit way too close to home.

I don’t claim to know all the details of what happened that day — that’s what the court system is for — but I believe things could have turned out much worse had a Shelby County Sheriff’s deputy not been at the school when he was to diffuse the situation.

I won’t get into the ongoing funding debate between the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Shelby County Commission — I understand points on both sides — but I am incredibly thankful that deputy was where he was when he was that day.

Because of that deputy’s actions, we could have possibly avoided another terrible incident like the one in Connecticut a few months ago.

All across Shelby County, deputies and local police officers have increased their presence at our schools, and it is obviously paying off already.

Last week, Pelham police officers helped the school to conduct several student safety assemblies aimed at making Pelham High School students more prepared if they are ever caught in an active shooter situation.

In Alabaster, the city, the Alabaster Police Department and the Alabaster Board of Education are working on an agreement to place school resource officers in all of the city’s schools. Alabaster previously had school resource officers in Thompson High and Thompson Middle, and are working to add them to Creek View Elementary, Meadow View Elementary and at the Thompson Intermediate-Sixth Grade Center building.

After the Connecticut tragedy, Alabaster beefed up its patrols and visits to all of the city’s schools, which I think provided greater peace of mind for the students and their parents.

Similar partnerships with schools and local police departments are playing out across the county, and I think that’s wonderful.

Some officers have only been stationed at a school for a few weeks, but their presence has already been proven valuable beyond measure.

Neal Wagner is the city editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 17 or by email at neal.wagner@shelbycountyreporter.com.

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