SRO hires just need Hamilton County commissioners' OK

SRO hires just need Hamilton County commissioners' OK

November 28th, 2013 by Alex Green in Local Regional News

Hamilton County Commissioners conduct business during a commission meeting in this file photo.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• Commissioners will mull whether to spend around $300,000 on address verification and E911 service updates.

Graham said the goal is to clarify road names and addresses. Over the years, he said, emergency personnel have been confused and perhaps delayed because some roads have been cut up and separated and many roads have similar names.

He said the county will look at hiring GeoComm Inc. to assess and fix street addressing problems.

The project will cost $923,654 but nine county municipalities have agreed to take part and chip in around $600,000.

Graham said Soddy-Daisy opted out of the program. Hardie Stulce, Soddy-Daisy city manager, said he is not familiar with the program and does not remember opting out of anything.

Hardie said the city could have opted out before he took office.

• Commissioners will be asked to approve

Hospital board reappointment

County commissioners can approve Mayor Jim Coppinger's Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority Board of Trustees appointment, Tom Edd Wilson, to a second term next week. The new term expires Nov. 19, 2017.

The $1 million grant awarded to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for eight new school resource officers might actually end up costing taxpayers that much and more.

The sheriff's department received a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services earlier this year.

But if county commissioners vote to accept that grant at next week's commission meeting, the sheriff's department must keep the officers on for a fourth year, on the county's dime. And outfit them. And train them.

All together, it will cost $2.2 million -- including the grant -- to put the new officers into county schools. That means the county will have to come up with $1.2 million of its own money.

Commissioner Joe Graham, finance committee chairman, thinks commissioners will vote to accept the grant.

"I don't see it being a problem at all," he said.

He called the SRO program "a very strong preventative maintenance as far as safety and security."

"In today's environment, you can never be too secure," he said.

Hammond said during Wednesday's agenda session that if the grant is accepted, the new officers probably won't be able to go to work before the beginning of the next school year.

The officers will be chosen from among current sheriff's office employees.

Hammond also said the department is going to look at which schools need the officers. He invited county commissioners to sit in on those discussions and make recommendations from their district knowledge.

Graham said he believes if the grant is accepted, some officers will go into schools that formerly had SROs but lost them. Earlier this year, Hammond pulled some SRO positions to put more officers on the street.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.