Baldwin County to provide police resource officers in all of its 47 schools
The Baldwin County Public School System, the Baldwin County Commission and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office are one step closer to securing all public schools in Baldwin County with armed law enforcement officers in the 2018-2019 school year.
The Baldwin County Board of Education has authorized the superintendent to continue to work with Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack and the Baldwin Commission regarding the multi-agency work toward placing a School Resource Officer at every school in Baldwin County.
The School Board will provide a portion of funding to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, dollars that will be merged with funds from the county commission to be used to provide law enforcement personnel above and beyond what is currently available today.
“The can-do attitude that I’ve seen with our law enforcement and county partners is simply incredible. I don’t profess to have all the insight so I appreciate the wisdom and enthusiasm they have brought to the process,” BCSS Superintendent Edie Tyler said.
“Since the rash of shootings and terrorist events over this past school year, I would find myself starting each day worrying about what we would do if one of our campuses was attacked. There’s no question in my mind, by adding full-fledged, armed school resource officers, we will experience a whole new level of security on our campuses,” he said.
The goal is to provide one armed law enforcement officer at each of the 47 Baldwin County Public school campuses on permanent assignment as a school resource officer.
“I am convinced that this is not only doable, but this is the best course of action to ensure we are prepared on our public school campuses,” said Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack. “I’ve spoken to every police chief in Baldwin County and experts from around the nation and this will give us full-time, fully-armed and trained law enforcement to protect our kids and employees on each and every school campus, and I’m not aware of this being done in any other county in Alabama.
“As important as protecting our schools, employees and children is the incredible ability this will bring to fighting juvenile crime – among the fastest growing segments of crime. I hope that it might be the only benefit because I don’t ever want to respond to a school shooting in Baldwin County but I will feel better knowing that we have armed personnel on site as first responders if we do.”
The proposal before the board is in addition to the security measures already implemented earlier this year including new auto-locking features on all campus doors, camera and intercom systems, panic and alert systems, as well as full exterior door lockdowns systematically across the county.
County Commissioner Chris Elliott said this is being done with no new taxes.
“As a parent, I spend a lot of time at school with my kids and I know the concern among other parents about school safety in light of the events over the last year,” said Elliott. “The commission will vote to approve our portion in the budget at the appropriate time, but I am expecting full support from the commission in light of their past support. Most importantly and to repeat, this is being done with no new taxes.’’
Additional information, including specific timelines, procedures and incremental cost will be provided at a later date.