Officials may have to cut school officers

December 17, 2008 3:53:02 PM PST
The economic squeeze could put security at dozens of schools in Wake County in jeopardy.With the threat of budget cuts hanging over the police department's head, Wake County Sheriff's Office is threatening to pull deputies out of the schools.

School resource officers, usually a uniformed policeman, supervise students at Wake County middle and high schools. SROs at 19 middle schools are also Sheriff's deputies.

Tammy Alston is the mother of a six and seventh grader at Carnage Middle School in Raleigh.

She says she is not surprised that state crime reports show weapons were found on students at Carnage High 12 times during the 2006-2007school year, but she is surprised about the proposed cuts of SROs.

"Why would you want to take out the officers? That doesn't make sense," Alston said.

One school board member said fighting back gangs may require more SROs not fewer police on campus.

"It's not every day we're taking a gun off of someone at a middle school that we believe the presence of the SROs makes a difference," the board member said.

School officials say if officials cut SROs, they may have to go back to the old routine of calling 911 if they need help.

"We'd obviously work with local law enforcement," one principal said. "They would respond well I have no doubt about that."

Parents say the crime numbers not the budget deficit makes the case for more cops on campus.

"Violence and weapons are seen already and we have an officer," Alston said. "Imagine if we didn't have an officer. I think it would be worse."


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