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Oak Ridge schools to increase security

12:33 AM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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Oak Ridge schools to increase security

One East Tennessee school district is taking steps to increase security measures at all eight of its schools.

Monday night, the Oak Ridge Board of Education approved a resolution, which states the board is committed to providing school resource officers at every school in the district. The resolution directs the superintendent to work with the city manager to achieve that goal.

"I think it's a deterrent," said interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Smallridge, referring to gun violence recently making headlines across the country. "When you have an SRO in the school, I think you establish a relationship with students."

Currently, Oak Ridge High School has the only SRO in the district, which has about 4,700 students. The board hopes to have at least one in each of the district's eight schools, including preschool, elementary and middle schools.

How to fund that plan is still under discussion.

"It will not be inexpensive," Smallridge said.

The board is using the current cost of one SRO as its model for future hires.

According to the Oak Ridge Police Department, the base salary for an SRO is $48,885 plus benefits, which cost the city $19,013. In addition to those expenses, an officer would require a vehicle, uniform and weapons.

The current SRO is paid by the city of Oak Ridge. The board expects the district may have to help with the costs of any additional hires, and plans to consider alternative funding.

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