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Friday, March 09, 2018

Cocke schools want more SRO officers
Members of the Cocke County School Board meeting Thursday voted unanimously to ask the Cocke County Legislative Body(CLB) for funding of seven new School Resource Officers(SRO). Currently the Cocke County High School and the Cosby High School/Elementary School each have an SRO. A third SRO is responsible for the eight other elementary schools in the district. Director of Schools Manney Moore said many school districts in Upper East Tennessee are requesting additional officers. He said currently systems in the region range from one to 11 SRO officers. And Moore said all of the districts are trying to determine how best to address school safety. Currently the SRO's work at the schools when classes are in session and then serve as road officers when there are no classes. Asking the CLB for the needed funding, said member Richard Coggins, "is a no-brainer." But member Jimmy Stokely observed that the issue "is all about money." The board was told that funding for an SRO officer totals about $30,000 annually. Assistant Director Casey Kelly said he broached the SRO issue w2ith the sheriff's department. "However the sheriff and our chief deputy can help us, they are in support of us. They will work with us, and we as two funded bodies of the CLB are in unison and can approach them. We have a memorandum of understanding with them right now on how we will share the deputy/SRO, and that is what we operate on," Kelly said. Coggins suggested that safety could be enhanced in schools, with a metal detector at the entrance door, monitored by the SRO. Director Moore said state education officials also are encouraging counseling of students and early detection of emotional issues in the student body. Also being considered are more surveillance cameras, and possibly armed and trained personnel.


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