UPDATE: More security added to Bradley County high schools
Earlier this month, the sheriff's office and school district agreed to add a third armed officer to Walker Valley High School and Bradley Central.
UPDATE: Extra-armed officers are now on Bradley County high school campuses. Earlier this month, the sheriff's office and school district agreed to add a third armed officer to Walker Valley High School and Bradley Central. Officials said it's a proactive step to ensure student safety.
Before entering the gates of Bradley Central High School, expect to be stopped by Officer Andy Smith. “His responsibility is to monitor who is coming and going from our school,” said Principal of Bradley Central High School Todd Smith.
If you cannot provide Officer Smith with a school ID, be prepared to explain why you need to get onto campus. “He is going to check your license, he is going to take your name and record all of that. He is going to let someone know where you plan on going on campus.”
It is all a part of the school's expanding safety plan, a conversation that started following the Parkland Florida school shooting. “All schools now are doing the most that they can for the safety of their students. It is a vital part.”
The new guard gate isn't only for people arriving to the school, visitors and students are required to notify Officer Smith before exiting the campus as well. “They realize. Students know the things that we deal with right now. Students have been very positive. Nothing negative said at all.”
It costs the Bradley County School District 40-thousand dollars for the new guard. His training and equipment will come from the sheriff's office.
Principal Shoemaker said, the additional resource is worth the extra cost. “There is just not enough that we can do. There is not enough that we can do to protect our students.”
The additional guards have been added to the high schools, but county officials hope to expand their services to other schools in the future.
PREVIOUS STORY: High schools in Bradley County will soon see more officers on campus. The sheriff's office and school district agreed to add a second armed officer to Walker Valley High School and Bradley Central. Officials said it's a proactive step to ensure student safety.
Bradley County’s high schools already have a school resource officer, paid for by the sheriff's office. Now the school district will spend an additional 40-thousand dollars to add guards outside the high schools.
“We know we can't prevent everything, but we are trying to put things in place so if something happens we would be the last ones they would want to come to, because they know we have two armed deputies in our schools,” said Director of Bradley County Schools Linda Cash.
Bradley Central High School is upping its security. Later this month, expect to see armed officers walking the perimeter of the high school. “They have all the authority with the sheriff's department. They come with all the background and knowledge of how to act if we have any incident.”
The new guard will be responsible for checking ID's when anyone enters and exits the campus. They will also be required to log all activity for security purposes; it is a part of expanding the school's safety plan. “The more layers we have for security, the less chance anyone would come on our campus and cause chaos or anything.”
The school district is responsible for paying the guards, but their training and equipment will come from the sheriff's office. “Their responsibility is to keep the school safe, this is an additional layer for protection during the day, for the schools,” said Sheriff Eric Watson.
The additional guards will be added to the high schools, but county officials hope to expand their services to other schools in the future. “The reasoning behind that is high school students are mobile, they have vehicles, they come and go. The people on our campus are they supposed to be on our campus? And what is your purpose of being here?” said Cash.
Talks of this new partnership started after the Parkland Florida shooting. The new guards will be on campus starting March 19.