City leaders discuss school safety

Cities in Shelby County are making moves to prevent incidents of school violence. Community leaders, law enforcement and even parents recently met to brainstorm ways on how to improve school security and get more money to pay for it.

Christy Corduroy has noticed a police officer spending more time at Valley Elementary in Pelham. The teacher says the idea of having one there permanently.. would put everyone at ease. So some city leaders in Shelby County are working together to tighten school security."It makes me feel they are genuinely concerned about the issue and they're not going to let it rest until we all can come up with an adequate solution that everyone is comfortable with."

Funding is the biggest issue for law enforcement in schools. Helena used emergency funding, but not every city has that advantage. Sheriff Chris Curry made cuts.. to make sure all schools in his much larger jurisdiction are manned. He met with Helena Mayor Mark Hall and leaders in Pelham and Calera, just to name a few, to discuss ways to generate funding.

Mayor Hall says "There's got to be some innovative ways or not, you tack on another five dollars to a traffic fine the state collects that perhaps would be put in a school security fund. That's just one of things we mentioned."

Mayor Hall says he'd like to see federal funding return to the school resource officer program. Other ideas included seeking state funding, hiring retired officers and developing partnerships with the Shelby County School Board. Pelham Police Chief, Tommy Thomas, says "Hopefully the county commission would give the BOE enough money to enter a partnership so cost would be split between the county and the city."

Hall says it's an issue that can't be overlooked and Cordrey says it's good not to be complacent after such so many lives were lost in Newtown. Cordrey says "It does make me feel at ease that they're not going to let it go by the wayside because it was something that got our attention and it could happen anywhere."

Shelby County isn't the only area concerned about this. Sylacauga's Police Chief is trying to get an additional SRO into the school system. He's hoping the city council and school board will both support helping make this happen.