Grundy Co Sheriff concerned for safety after SRO loses access to school security cameras

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum tells us that the Grundy County High School SRO was removed from access to monitor school security cameras Friday. (Image: MGN)

New tensions arise between the Grundy County sheriff and the Director of Schools. Sheriff Clint Shrum says the Director of Schools, Jessie Kinsey, pulled the plug on the School Resource Officers's access to the security cameras at Grundy County High School. He calls that a safety threat.

“It may be legal, but when that happened yesterday they took a piece of public safety equipment out of access of law enforcement,” Shrum said.

Friday, the SRO went into his office and realized the surveillance monitors were gone, according to Sheriff Shrum. They were moved to the principal's office. Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey says the SRO needs permission from the Principal to review video. The Sheriff says it was never like that before and now student safety is compromised.

"Now the ability to obtain evidentiary information by law enforcement has been taken away from us," said Sheriff Shrum. "So we have to figure out what process we're going to take in n order to get that information."

Sheriff Shrum says without the cameras his department's entire emergency response plan could be impacted.

With five of the high school's football players accused of attempted aggravated rape, evidence is crucial. The monitors were moved back to the SRO's office late Friday, but he still can't look at the video. Just a few days ago, the Sheriff's Office used the surveillance system after a school board member's car was vandalized during a meeting.

Kinsey gave this statement to NewsChannel 9 via text Saturday:

"The law outlines distinct differences between school system responsibilities and those of law enforcement. The SRO is an employee of the Sheriff's office and not an employee of the school system. Therefore, the SROs access to the camera monitors is set to view only. The principals of each school are the only school employees who have full access to the camera system. If the SRO needs to review any video, he will need to get permission from the principal to do so. With regards to accessing the camera system from off campus, the school board attorney advised that only the school principals needed remote access to the school camera system. All of the cameras are still in place. The school was simply relocating the camera monitors to the principals office. Instead now, we will purchase additional monitors for the principal office.The principal and I plan to meet with the sheriff next week to discuss more specific reasons for changing the SROs access to the camera system. Out of courtesy for the Sheriff's office, I would like to discuss with him those reasons first before disclosing to the media I am out of town with my town with my family and will not return to work until Tuesday."

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