Carpenter: ‘We have a security presence at all our schools’

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022

Dr. Brandon Carpenter knows security is the top concern for the Carter County Schools.
That’s why the director of schools reassured school board members on Thursday that the district has a plan in place to offset the shortage of school resource officers provided by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
“We have a security presence in all our schools right now,” he said. “It may not be all day long, but there is a plan in place where there is a security presence throughout the day.
“It seems like it’s working very well for what we have.”
Outgoing Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford announced in July that staff shortages forced meant his department could guarantee SRO presence only at the four high schools in the county system. In previous years, the sheriff had provided an SRO at all county school campuses.
That law enforcement presence could change in September, Carpenter said.
“We have met with Sheriff-Elect (Mike) Fraley multiple times over the last few weeks and he has a good plan,” Carpenter said, adding that the plan could include an agreement for services through January …. I think it will be a good thing for Carter County Schools, and I think you’ll like some of the ideas he has.”
Fraley said on Friday he is working to create multiple options for providing school resource officers for the county.
“We’re going through every employee in the sheriff’s department and we’re going to streamline some job descriptions so we will free up some positions to help with this,” he said.
Other options could include offering short-term employment to retired officers.
“We’re making this a priority,” he said. Fraley said he plans to propose a short-term contract through Jan. 1 “to give me some time to make some adjustments.”
Meanwhile, Carpenter said on-site supervisors, faculty and staff are focused on keeping campuses secure and students safe.
“The most important thing we can do is keep the doors locked,” he said. “I had someone make the comment today that Happy Valley is like a fortress … but the main thing we want to focus on is keeping those doors locked.”
Board members also discussed active shooter training for faculty and staff but took no action on the idea.