Alexander County Sheriff Chad Pennell presented his plan to employ School Resource Officers (SROs) at six local elementary schools during a special meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners on Monday, December 12.
Alexander County Schools recently received a Center for Safer Schools School Safety Grant for SROs. The grant provides $44,000 per SRO in the 2022-23 school year at seven elementary schools, one of which is in the Town of Taylorsville jurisdiction.
Sheriff Pennell said he plans to reclassify three current officers to become SROs and will hire three additional officers, for a total of six SROs at elementary schools. The sheriff said the cost to the county for the 2022-2023 school year would only be approximately $20,000 for equipment. The grant will pay for the salaries of the six SROs for the 2023-2024 school year, but the county will pay for the employees’ fringe benefits.
“This is a solid plan to get officers into our schools quickly and efficiently at a much lower cost than initially estimated,” said Sheriff Pennell. “The safety of our children and school staff is paramount. I’m proud to work with the county commissioners and the school system to provide a higher level of protection in our schools.”
Commissioners approved a budget amendment to increase the sheriff’s office budget to account for the SROs at the six schools for the remainder of the current school year.
In other business, Sheriff Pennell was appointed to the Alexander County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) through June 30, 2024.
The next meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners is set for Monday, January 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the CVCC Alexander Center for Education (room #103). Regular meetings are recorded and can be viewed on the county’s Government Channel on Spectrum channel 192 or the county’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and more are available on the county’s website at https://alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.