Limestone Co. Schools to have SROs in every school - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Limestone Co. Schools to have SROs in every school

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Marty Bruce spent 30 years with the Athens Police Department. Marty Bruce spent 30 years with the Athens Police Department.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Limestone County Schools will have armed officers in each and every school starting next semester.

Right now, the county commission is deciding if they will pick up half of the $240,000 tab to do it, and the sheriff's office is looking for candidates for the job.

Violence in elementary schools is not something we thought about too much before the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

One longtime Tennessee Valley officer said that tragedy shows we need to protect grade school kids, and he wants to be a part of it.

Marty Bruce spent 30 years with the Athens Police Department. For 18 years, he was a captain. Bruce said he wants to protect and serve again.

"If you're a police officer for 30 years, obviously, you did it because you want to be able to help people. And being able to help the kids today by doing something like this, and keeping them safe, I think that's a great idea," he said.

Limestone County Schools will put armed guards in its eight elementary schools starting in August.

Sheriff Mike Blakely said he needs 12 retired officers to fill the need.

"I think it's a good program, and if we can find enough of the retired officers interested in this, I think it will be something good to give peace of mind to all the parents, educators, and all our students in the county," Blakely said.

Bruce wants to be one of those officers. He said after what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to the safety of children.

"We spend a lot of time worrying about middle schools and high schools, but we haven't spent that much time with the elementary schools, and you see they are vulnerable too. And that touches a lot of people," said Bruce.

He said just the presence of trained, armed officers could prevent a school tragedy.

"They're not looking for someone who's going to confront them back. They're out there to wreak havoc. Having an armed police officer in there, somebody that knows what to do, would definitely be a deterrent," said Bruce.

If the Limestone County commission doesn't approve 50 percent of the funding for the SRO's, the school superintendent vows to dip into the system's reserve fund to get it done.

That information should be revealed on Monday.

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