Chelsea man starts organization to pay for law enforcement in local schoolsPublished 10:32am Thursday, May 9, 2013
By MEGAN BEAVERS/For the Reporter
A Chelsea man recently started an organization that aims to have trained law enforcement officers in Shelby County schools by August.
Mike Echols, a father of two children who attend Shelby County schools, founded the Committee for Safer Schools in mid-March.
The organization will provide financial support to local law enforcement agencies to place a sheriff’s deputy in every school to protect students against “individuals whose aim is to commit violent acts within our schools,” according to the organization’s website.
“We as a community need to step in, and if we want to ensure protection for our children, educators and schools, then we need to get involved and in a financial way,” he said.
Echols said an $80 donation per student, adding up to $2 million per year, would cover the costs to place a sheriff’s deputy in each school.
Echols said he’s spoken to representatives with the Shelby County Board of Education, Shelby County Commission and Shelby County Sheriff’s Department about the Committee for Safer Schools.
“The issue here is providing priority funding for law enforcement officers as school resource officers in the security of the school and making it a priority. Where that funding comes from, no one has been able to answer,” Sheriff Chris Curry said.
Echols said the Committee for Safer Schools has applied for but has not received its 501c(3) status from the IRS yet. However, he said his organization by the Shelby County Law Enforcement Foundation’s non-profit status until it receives its own 501c(3) status.
Echols said school protection is going unmet and there is no time to wait around for local or national government to take care of it.
“You cannot leave security in the hands of educators. They’re not educated in security,” he said.
Community for Safer Schools has partnered with Regions Bank in Chelsea to create an account for donations. For more information, visit Alsafeschools.com.