Sheriff’s office should lead school security

Dear Editor,

I believe anyone who cares about the well being of Shelby County’s student population has to applaud recent efforts to ensure their safety.

Funding is a given, but what is the most efficient course of action? Because the sheriff’s department is the largest, most experienced, best-equipped law enforcement organization in our county, does it make any sense to not make them the lead agency?

Would it make any sense to have the sheriff be responsible for the education of our youth? Therefore, why have the County Commission or the Board of Education even want to be responsible for police work? The thousands of hours of experience we have invested in this fine organization should not be cast aside.

The sheriff’s department is the only police organization that could respond quickly, cross jurisdictional boundaries and properly man, investigate and coordinate rapid response to any number of situations in Shelby County. It is one of our most precious assets.

Attempting to confiscate any portion of the discretionary “pistol permit” money that the sheriff gets each year without his consent does not seem wise. The money, such as is my case, is often a donation to an extremely well-run organization but could dry up very quickly if not used properly.

The sheriff’s office could rotate personnel in and out of the schools, so no one would just be able to pass through as a familiar face. Students would also be more inclined to confide in new faces to discuss sensitive issues, which is becoming more and more of an issue.

I would like to see the Sheriff’s Department named lead agency and provided adequate funding to do so. Individual jurisdictions often ask the sheriff’s office for assistance — a simple letter would be all that would be required.

Maurice Turgeon