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Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond speaks Jan. 11, 2016, to members of the Pachyderm Club in Chattanooga about the need for a new county jail.
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WHERE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS ARE NOW

Brown Middle School

Dalewood Middle School

Hixson Middle School

Hunter Middle School

Loftis Middle School

Ooltewah Middle School

Orchard Knob Middle School

Red Bank Middle School

Brainerd High School*

Central High School

East Hamilton School

East Ridge High School

Hixson High School

Lookout Valley Middle/High School

Ooltewah High School

Red Bank High School

Sale Creek Middle/High School

Sequoyah High School

Soddy Daisy High School

The Howard School*

Washington Alternative Learning Center

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences

East Lake Academy

Tyner Academy

*These locations have two officers.

Source: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

 

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond will use a $750,000 federal grant to hire six new school resource officers.

The grant, announced Wednesday, will fund six deputy positions for three years, and Hamilton County is required to keep the school resource officers on the job for another year after that, Hammond said. The county will need to pay $431,000 as a match to the federal grant.

The new hires will raise the number of full-time school resource officers in the county from 26 to 32. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

School resource officers are fully qualified sheriff's deputies who work in area high schools and middle schools, both providing security and acting as mentors to students.

"It's good for young people to see officers in a positive light," Hammond said.

The sheriff's office was awarded the same grant in 2013, which at that time funded eight new school resource officer positions. Hammond said the sheriff's office intends to continue to fund both those positions and the six new positions after the grant money runs out.

He was surprised to be awarded the grant again this year, he said, and credited U.S. Rep Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., with advocating for the money.

"This is a great example of how we work together in Hamilton County and in the 3rd District of Tennessee," Fleischmann said at a news conference Wednesday.

The six new hires likely will start working by the end of the year after they complete training, Hammond said. Officials have not yet decided in which schools the new officers will work.

Eight Hamilton County public high schools do not have school resource officers, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies will work with the school system to figure out where the officers will best fit, said Lt. Shaun Shepherd, who heads the school resource officer program.

There are about 43,000 public school students in Hamilton County, with about 75 different schools.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas. Follow @ShellyBradbury.

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