Shelby County looking at funding for officers at schools

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CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) – After an armed gunman forced his way onto the campus of Chelsea Middle School in January, dozens of campuses in the area put officers on their campuses.

The day was filled with panic and terror for students and parents alike. Ryan Sims, 21, barricaded himself inside the gym of the school and held several female students hostage and at gunpoint.

Fortunately, a school resource officer talked Sims into releasing the teens and to surrender. In the end, no one was hurt, but it came almost two months after the Sandy Hook massacre, which meant parents were understandably on edge.

“I gave a letter to the county commissioners saying we couldn’t take the basis that it couldn’t happen here, and on Tuesday morning we had an armed gunman on Chelsea Middle School,” Shelby County Sheriff Christ Curry said.

Now, as the new school year is beginning, the topic of school officers is back on the table in Shelby County.

However, with the budget crisis hitting many counties and school boards all over the area, the question remains whether or not those positions will be funded in Shelby County.

Sheriff Curry presented his budget for the next fiscal year to the Shelby County Commission Monday night, and within the budget was a major request to keep all those officers at their current posts on school grounds.

Six months removed from the incident at Chelsea Middle School, parents still stay it’s important to have officers on campus.

“It’s very important. I mean, given the situation this past year with Chelsea Middle, and my daughter was there last year,” explained Leslie Jones, whose children go to Chelsea High School.

Even though the officers proved themselves to be of worth during the incident in January, Sheriff Curry finds himself in the same situation he was in before – lobbying for money to keep officers in school.

Despite the budget situation, many parents are insistent that officers need to be on campus, even if the money isn’t there.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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