Alabaster working to put more officers in schools

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney speaks to the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club during a Feb. 7 lunch at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said he has been “working closely” recently with Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon and the City Council in an attempt to put school resource officers in every Alabaster school.

Rigney’s comments came during a Feb. 7 Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club lunch at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. During the lunch, Rigney updated the club on projects he has been involved with since he was appointed chief in late 2012.

“Based on recent events, I think we all need to take a hard look at our schools and see how we can provide more security,” Rigney said. “There is no perfect answer, but we can do everything we can to hopefully prevent something from happening.”

Alabaster currently has school resource officers stationed at Thompson High School and Thompson Middle School, and is considering funding resource officers at the Thompson Intermediate-Sixth Grade Center building and a Creek View Elementary and Meadow View Elementary, City Council members said previously.

Rigney said school resource officers are “much more than security guards,” and said they frequently teach safety classes at school and establish relationships with faculty members, students and parents.

During the lunch, Rigney also said police department employees are working to train on a new record-keeping software. Once implemented, the software will allow officers to view the call history and details on a residence or individual from their patrol cars while responding to calls.

The new software will help the department manage data on suspects and victims to more effectively allocate department resources, Rigney said.

Rigney also said Shelby County has seen a spike over the last few years in fraud cases.

“In the last few years, people in Shelby County have lost more property by fraud than by robberies, burglaries and thefts combined,” Rigney said. “A lot of this is aimed toward seniors.”

Rigney said residents should never give out credit card or bank account information over the phone, and said scammers often demand payment up-front and claim a fictitious prize of some sort will be awarded later.