(Memphis) Deputy Scott Harper keeps a close eye on Bartlett High School.
He is one of 21 Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies who handle security for all Shelby County Schools.
But by next August, there will be 35 more deputies walking school halls and riding school campuses.
“It’s gonna be a big undertaking and it’s gonna be a challenge for us, but we feel with the training we will give our young men and women who will be patrolling the schools, we feel very confident we will be ready when the bell rings next year,” saidSheriff’s Department Spokesperson Chip Washington.
With 2 million dollars from the County Commission to hire the additional officers, the Sheriff’s Department is quickly getting its plan in place.
Thanks to school consolidation, come August 2013, 182 Memphis schools will be added to the Sheriff’s Department patrol.
That means full time deputies stationed at all high schools and some middle.
The Sheriff’s Department has already been recruiting and hopes to start training officers the first of the year.
“Different schools in different areas require different things. We will be very sensitive to training that addresses all those issues, issues of race, issues of culture and things like that,” said Washington.
With Memphis City Schools no longer existing, the question becomes what happens to existing Memphis school security?
The Sheriff’s Office says because of the sheer magnitude of the job ahead, there is no way the existing security force can be left out.
But what’s not clear is the exact role that force will have.
“They will be utilized. To what extent, where, how will be determined by the new Superintendent and the Sheriff when that happens,” said Washington.
The 35 deputies added to the Sheriff Department’s school security will be experienced officers moved from other positions.
New recruits will be hired to replace them.