Because of the recent shootings in Newtown, Mayor Gene Melton along with the Trussville city council voted to assign an additional $400,000 to the police department to hire security and add other services to city schools. Melton says, "We're trying to stay ahead of the curb, when something like this happens."
So far Melton says he's been receiving positive feedback on resource officers in schools, but this concerns one local child counselor who says this can be traumatic for the child. "What becomes the norm becomes the norm. And they probably will be desensitized to the fact that there are security cameras and police officers. It'll kind of become their world," says Laurie Pierce with Samaritan Counseling Center. Pierce says it's important to introduce new security measures with apathy and moderation. "If you're introducing any type of change, the fact that the adults can be calm, and secure in the presentation of that would help the child feel more calm and secure," says Pierce.
And that's what Melton says will happen in Trussville schools. He says the presence of any officer will be of a peaceful, friendly nature while interacting with children.
But as he continues to reminisce on times when security wasn't needed, he says he wants the children in Trussville to know that security is around. "We rather have our kids grow up knowing that they can respect law enforcement and know they can go to them for help," says Melton.