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Catoosa County to add 5 school resource officers

Catoosa County's commissioners and the Catoosa County School Board have agreed to add five school resource officers (SROs) to public schools in the county. (Image: WTVC)

Catoosa County's commissioners and the Catoosa County School Board have agreed to add five school resource officers (SROs) to public schools in the county.

School superintendent Denia Reese says the goal was to add the additional officers by 2020, but the school will be adding them to elementary schools in 2018.

The process was sped up after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.

The county and school system agreed Tuesday night to split the cost of the new officers, which will be a $40,000 salary with benefits per officer. Superintendent Reese tells NC9 that the money for these officers will come from the School Board's reserve budget as well as the city commision budget.

Reese says that tax payers will not see a change because of the placement of these new officers.

More security procedures are coming to two high schools in Bradley County, Tennessee. Read more about that here.

Parents in the school district say they are thankful that steps like this are being taken.

One of those parents is Travis White. His daughter is just 9 months old but he hopes one day she will go through the Catoosa County Public School system. So finding out that these officers were being placed made him feel like his daughter's future was safer.

White says, "I think it is a great idea."

He says he realizes that some young children may be intimidated having an armed officer in their school, "I think it will take some getting used to like anything else but once they realize its for their safety, it will be ok."

Superintendent Reese says that is one of the many reasons the officers are there.

"This will help create good relationships with children and their police officers," she says. "They are going to see that officer and know its a friend and confidant early on."

A sentiment that is echoed by school board member Jack Sims. Sims says, "Students need to understand that the primary purpose of the police officer is to protect...building relatoinships at a a young age teaches students that they are not to fear them and also builds a bridge."

Administrators say that these are officers are meant to form relationships with the students so that if they see something, they will feel comfortable saying something.

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