(Hernando, MS) DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco’s department is spending thousands of taxpayer dollars every month to put armed guards in every DeSoto County school.
“Our school resource officers have got to be our best shooters because they know if someone comes in that school, they have got to go address that issue. They cannot sit back and wait," said Rasco.
To make sure every child in a DeSoto County school is safe, deputies are working overtime.
This costs about $10,000 a week, nearly a quarter of a million dollars by the end of the school year.
“I don't really think they care about what it costs, as long as they know their children are being protected,” said Rasco.
Since the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, deputies are in every school in DeSoto County, including the schools in the unincorporated areas.
Before Newtown, Desoto deputies were only at middle and high schools.
“They cannot come to school and be afraid someone is going to come in their school and harm them. That's my responsibility and that`s what I keep intending to do,” said Rasco.
This is a personal issue for Rasco, who has grandchildren in Desoto County Schools.
He says it's ultimately his responsibility to protect them and everyone's children.
Rasco is taking action to make sure images of crying frantic parents like the ones outside Sandy Hook Elementary don't unfold in his county.
Hal Peyton has children in Desoto Schools and thinks it`s a great idea.
“It doesn't matter what it costs. It's important to protect the children. We worry more about protecting other things in this country than our children half the time and we need to worry about our children," Peyton said.
Rasco says they have enough money in the overtime budget to cover the cost until the end of the school year.
When county supervisors plan the school budget for next year in a couple of months, Rasco will consider recommending they include school deputies in that budget.