County filling five sheriff’s deputy positions using school security funds

By CASSANDRA MICKENS/Associate Editor

COLUMBIANA — The Shelby County Commission unanimously voted April 28 to use funding from the Safe Schools Initiative to pay for five new deputies at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

About $421,000 in funding comes from the initiative partners, which include the commission, the Shelby County Board of Education and cities. The initiative serves to increase law enforcement presence in county schools.

The five new deputies will fill vacancies that have existed in the sheriff’s office’s understaffed patrol division since 2012, when the sheriff’s office decided to increase law enforcement presence in schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Over the last year, the sheriff’s office has provided nine school resource officers and additional staff at 12 schools. The new deputies will not report directly to schools, but instead boost the patrol division’s ranks.

The new deputies will undergo training and are expected be on patrol within the next year.