Cheatham County looks to add more SROs to schools

(Photo: WKRN)

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Wednesday’s school massacre in Florida got everyone’s attention.

Specifically school resource officers whose job is to patrol schools and keep everyone safe.

This was the case in Cheatham County, which has 13 schools, but only seven SROs.

“One of the biggest thing we learned yesterday is communication. we need open communication between our students and our staff. we need to build relationships with our kids and it starts at the elementary level,” said Sgt. Chris Gilmore, SRO supervisor in Cheatham County.

When shots were fired in the Florida school and children died, Gilmore felt a lump in his throat knowing that it could easily happen here.

“Its scary. It’s not if it will happen, it’s when. That scares all of us. Our job is to keep kids safe and it is a fear for all of us and it makes it more real every day,” said Sgt. Gilmore.

Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove was also devastated by the heinous images coming out of Florida.

“Its a shock all over again, and I’m afraid it is the new horrible norm. We need to get out of that, and we say OK, there’s another school. when’s our time coming,” said Breedlove.

The chief admits that you can’t stop evil, but an armed deputy in every school might serve as a deterrent.

“Our deputies are scrambling from school to school. We don’t have a deputy in every school so there are issues in every school from the elementary on up, so it’s a roulette we hope we are going to be there. I haven’t seen the mass murderer yet who walks into a place when he knows there is an armed officer in there. So that is a deterrent for them, and we want to pose that. Even if they drive by and see a patrol car, then maybe they’ll rethink. No we can’t stop murders,”said Breedlove.

Cheatham County Chief Deputy Tim Binkley confirmed that the school district and sheriff’s department are working on a budget plan to submit to the county commissioners for more SROs.

The budget will put six new SROs in schools and it will be presented in May. They hope to have the plan in place by July 1 and it would put an armed deputy in every school in the county.