Harnett County works to place officers in elementary schools

HARNETT COUNTY (WTVD) -- After a recent school shooting, Harnett County officials are taking strides to keep students safer on school property.

On Tuesday, officials said all elementary schools in Harnett County will have law enforcement officers on campus, with most arriving as early as next week.

The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, prompted the Harnett County Board of Education to take action Monday to place officers in its 17 elementary schools.

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Currently, all six middle and four high schools in the county have them.

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Sheriff Wayne Coats and Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming took to Facebook Live to discuss the plan.

"(It) just shows how we're working together and getting ahead of everything, trying to keep our citizens, our kids safe in schools," Coats said in the video. "I applaud the school board for the way they've stepped up."

The superintendent also announced a new schools safety committee.

"It's a task force, if you will, that will include law enforcement officials, local agencies such as our sheriff and sheriff's office, emergency management, our county officials, municipalities, first responders and others, for us to go around and make sure that we're doing all we can to ensure that our schools are safe," Fleming said.

Harnett County is one of several districts in the state that have had threats of school shootings since the tragedy in Florida.

County officials said they are acting now to try to prevent that type of violence.

School administrators estimate it will cost $75,000 to fund the change through the end of the school year; the money will be taken out existing school funds.
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