Wednesday, February 20, 2013

School system to request 50 guards?

The word I'm hearing is that Knox County schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre will seek 50 new school resource officers/armed guards, which would cost about $1.2 million a year.

That's actually a less expensive deal than what Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones plans to propose. (20 deputies for a little more than $2 million a year.)

That said, I'm now wondering whether the sheriff didn't let slide early that he would put in a request for extra deputies.

The plan? Let folks get up in arms over (pun intended) an expensive request just long enough for Lord McIntyre to step in with a cheaper proposal that gets the school system more guards.

It makes sense as the sheriff is one of the savviest politicians around and Jones has said that he doesn't mind whether the SRO's work under him or for the school system, so long as each school has an armed guard. (In other words, don't expect a turf battle over security.)

So, where does that leave the county's schools?

Local law enforcement and McIntyre want an armed guard in every school.

Right now, the school system has 45 SROs, the sheriff's office has 24 deputies and the Knoxville police Department has 17 officers who are dedicated to all the middle and high schools and some elementary schools.

So, that's 86 guards and we've got 88 schools.

I know, I know. Folks want to know then why we don't need only two more guards as opposed to 50.

That's a question that's going to come up a lot in the next few months.

There's actually a somewhat logical answer, but I'll let you do some of the work.

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