A new law that is speeding through the legislature would require School Safety Officers at each school but does not include funding for the additional trained safety officer.
Lawrence Co. Schools Chief Dr. Rob Fletcher has upgraded to follow the current law that is in place but if the new law goes into effect there are hurdles to jump.
The new bill is on Gov. Beshear’s desk and has been since Feb. 10. It requires a safety officer at each school.
Here is what we got from the state Legislative research committee today:
“Your question about Senate Bill 8, the bill that would arm school resource officers, was forwarded to me. That bill has been approved by the House and Senate and was delivered to the governor on Feb. 10. As of yesterday, the bill had not been signed by the governor. If it’s not signed within ten days of its delivery to the governor, excluding Sundays, it goes into law without his signature.”
Fletcher made these statements to The Lazer about the issue which has many residents asking if local taxpayers will have to pay the $50,000 salaries and who will get the jobs:
“Over the past few months, we have worked with both the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and the Louisa City Police Department to provide school resource officer (SRO) coverage in our schools. Each department has provided help in different ways and in different time frames. The Lawrence County Board of Education recently budgeted $100,000 for two full-time officers. Mr. Vernon Hall, Director of Personnel, and Sheriff Chuck Jackson worked out a partnership to provide one full-time school resource officer. The Board of Education allocated $50,000 to the Sheriff’s Department, and the Lawrence County Fiscal Court approved the contract for services.
The current requirement (SB1-2019) states that school systems “should” (as opposed to “shall”) hire SROs as funding and availability of applicants allow (paraphrasing). The $100,000 that the Board has allocated has come from the district budget. We have not been allocated funding from the state specifically for SROs.
If the state provides funding, it will still be an issue to find additional applicants, but we will do our best to recruit. Both Sheriff Jackson and Chief Fugitt have been very helpful in finding the two that we will have full time. In short, we will have two SROs that will share time among the 6 schools, and the school district will set that schedule. If the state allocates funding for SROs, we will continue to expand the program.
Finally, the selection (of SRO’s) process has been a collaboration effort among the school district, the Sheriff’s Department, and the City Police Department.
“Although we began our school resource officer work with the Louisa City Council, the City Police Department was having trouble keeping enough officers for both the city and for the school system. Fortunately, Chief Greg Fugitt is working to provide the second full-time position. Similar to the partnership with the county, the Lawrence County Board of Education has allocated $50,000 to the city. Chief Fugitt has reached out to surrounding counties and intends to provide the second full-time SRO in the next few days.
I am thankful for all those who have been involved in this process, including Sheriff Jackson, County Attorney Hogan, Judge Carter, the Lawrence County Fiscal Court, Chief Fugitt, Mr. Hall, the Louisa City Council, the Lawrence County Board of Education, and others. Each person has demonstrated what it means to be “All In” for our students.”
WITH ALL AREA SCHOOLS UNDER THE SAME STATE CONTROL, THE POSITIONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS COULD BE A BOOM IF THE STATE PUTS ANY MONEY WHERE IT’S MOUTH IS.