Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale Thursday introduced his school safety plan, which puts a deputy in every county school, and creates a team to identify potential threats. The sheriff's plan entails hiring retired law enforcement officers, to ensure that each school has a deputy. Currently, about 25 deputies cover the 56 county schools. "We are committed to ensuring that our most precious resource -- our children -- have a safe environment to learn, and grow up in," Hale said during an appearance at Minor Community School, where he was joined by Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens, and others.
The sheriff said the plan also includes the development of a threat assessment team, which will be tasked with identifying students who have the potential to become violent. The team will be comprised of: a sheriff's investigator, a Jefferson County school board member, and a mental health worker. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey said he strongly supports the idea. "We're seeing more and more mental health problems that we're not qualified to deal with, and we have to have professionals that can help us make the right decisions."
Hale says the $1.2 million dollar cost will be split between the Jefferson County Board of Education, and the county's general fund.
"Jefferson County is leading the nation today, in how we protect and keep our schools and schoolchildren safe," Hale said.