County high schools get security booths

By AUTUMN HUGHES

Posted 3/7/18

In an effort to provide an additional layer of protection at Bradley County Schools’ two high schools, Sheriff Eric Watson will assign personnel to security booths directly in front of both campuses.

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County high schools get security booths

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In an effort to provide an additional layer of protection at Bradley County Schools’ two high schools, Sheriff Eric Watson will assign personnel to security booths directly in front of both campuses.

According to a news release from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, both Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School will now have an armed deputy sheriff who will maintain a written log to check individuals who come and leave the school campuses during the day. Additionally, a marked patrol vehicle will be stationed in conjunction with the security booth as a visible sign of the BCSO’s presence.

Bradley County Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash said she is “pleased with the addition to increase safety at both of our schools."

“This was made possible with the help of Sheriff Eric Watson and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office,” Cash stated in the news release.

Since 2014, Watson has added a crossing guard at Walker Valley High School and an additional school resource officer at Bradley Central High School. Both county high schools will now have three assigned security personnel from the BCSO to help with school security operations.

“I want to commend Dr. Linda Cash and the Bradley County School Board for recognizing the need to evaluate and monitor individuals who frequent high school campuses during the school day,” Watson stated in the news release. “After much collaboration between the sheriff’s office and Bradley County Schools, implementation of the security booths is the first of several initiatives that will be instituted to enhance security measures to assist with protecting faculty and students.”

Cash mentioned the addition of armed officers at the two high schools on Monday, during a meeting of the Bradley County Commission’s Education Committee.

“We’re hoping to put these in place after spring break,” Cash said of the deputies, adding that funding will be part of the next fiscal year’s budget request.

School safety and security was the focus of the Education Committee’s meeting, with that committee forwarding a $576,637 recommended plan of improvements and upgrades to the Bradley County Commission’s Finance Committee for review.

The plan as outlined by Scotty Hernandez, safety and security specialist for both Bradley County Schools and Cleveland City Schools, is not “one magic answer” but several layers of planning and protection.

In addition to the armed deputies, Cash said the  anonymous tip line program "Stop!t" will be put in place during the current school year, paid by grant money, but it will become a recurring cost beginning in next year’s budget. The cost for Stop!t is $6,825.

Other measures in the proposed safety and security plan include surveillance system upgrades, classroom door locks, updated communications radios and employee training.

The committee also approved a motion to ask the city of Cleveland to work with Bradley County on a uniform school security plan.


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