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Jefferson County trains SROs with active shooter drills | #schoolsaftey

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tennessee — On Monday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office trained school resource officers with an active shooter simulation at White Pine Elementary School.

Recent Tennessee legislation made after the Covenant School Shooting in Nashville has provided $75,000 in funding for every school to have an SRO through school safety grants.

For Jefferson County Schools, not much will change since every school campus already has an SRO. 

“It’s going to help us to be able to add more coverage before and after school,” Tommy Arnold, the Director of Jefferson County Schools, said. 

For Hamblen County, which only had two SROs at its two high schools, the situation is different. The Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office will have to hire at least 14 new SROs. 

Every SRO must have police academy training and will have to complete additional training to become an SRO. If they don’t have applicants that are already police academy certified, they’ll have to become employed and then complete training. 

The HCSO is doubtful they’ll be able to fill all the spots before school starts on Aug. 3. 

“So can we get 15 to 18 before school starts? Probably not,” Captain David Cribley, Operations Officer for Hamblen County, said. “But we’re shooting for that.”

Regardless of the active shooting training, Arnold said SROs do more than just protect students from violence. 

“It’s more than just somebody to prevent an active shooter,” he said. “It’s community-oriented. It’s to help students, to help families, to provide.”

Chris Holloway is a retired police officer who left retirement to become a school resource officer after the Uvalde shooting in 2022. 

“We’re in charge of protecting people’s most prized possession,” Holloway said. “I have children and grandchildren, and I know how important they are to me.”

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