Sheriff wants officers at Sullivan County middle schools

Rain Smith • Aug 31, 2010 at 4:50 AM

Sheriff Wayne Anderson says he previously asked the Sullivan County Commission to staff part-time school resource officers at the county's seven middle schools — and was rejected.

In the wake of Monday’s fatal shooting of an armed man within Sullivan Central High School, he's bringing the issue back to the forefront.

During a press conference on the incident within the Board of Education's meeting room, An derson said, "I'm not going to make any political statement," on the need for SROs in middle schools.

He then went on to chronicle asking the county commission to establish nine such positions, "many years ago."

There are currently four SROs in the county, one at each high school. They are also respondible for the elementary and middle schools that feed into their as signed facility.

"I've just tried to get help, and we need help," Anderson said on Monday. "I asked them for nine part-time, retired officers to work in our middle schools. It would have cost, at the time, somewhere in the neighborhood of $180,000. It never happened."

Anderson said his office typi cally has 13 officers working pa trol. All of those deputies, along with detectives and other law en forcement in the office, were able to respond to Monday's incident at Sullivan Central.

However, he cautioned, that might not always be the case -- and without Officer Carolyn Gudger staffed at Sullivan Cen tral, Monday's incident would likely have ended in the death of more individuals than the gun man.

"This could always happen at a time when something else is go ing on and we can't get everybody there," he said. "So we need help."

"These are you children — and we can only do so much to keep them safe."

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