LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recently signed a School Safety and Targeted Violence Bill, which will make available more than $13-million to hire statewide 175 school resource officers shared between districts.
The state says this investment will ensure a certified law enforcement officer is in every school, in every county, all day, every day.
The Lancaster County School District hopes to benefit from that to fill nine district SRO positions. School officials say those nine openings are all that’s left to put one SRO in every school, with the majority being elementary.
Lonnie Plyler, the director of safety and transportation for the Lancaster County School District says this money will pay for everything, including salary, vehicle, fringe benefits and more.
However District officials say just because they have the money, doesn’t mean that they have the people.
“It cuts down on the cost as far as our initial cost for our budgets because it comes federally mandated from the government,” Plyler said. “It has a great impact but, like I said, it’s just the Sheriff’s Office and the cities being able to hire somebody to bring them in. The money is there for us, it’s just that we have to get people to apply to be an officer and get them through the Academy.”
In addition to filling those SRO positions, the Lancaster County School District is also ready to kick off a program called Safer Watch.
Safer Watch is a way for all teachers to hit one button on their phone and notify law enforcement if there is a problem. That program is expected to be up and running by the end of march, and once it is in place, officials say they’ll be the only full district in the state to have it.