By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
The day after an arrest was made in the bomb threats to the Greene County schools , the Board of Supervisors approved the matching funds ($23,137) needed to apply for a grant for a Resource Officer for Ruckersville Elementary School. Debbie Brown, Director of Human Resources & Administrative Services, made the request while also lending support were Superintendent of Schools Andrea Whitmarsh and Sheriff Steve Smith.
Currently the Greene County Sheriff’s Department has two Resource Officers to cover the six schools in the county. The grant application cites coverage at Ruckersville Elementary School as a critical need.
The grant request indicates:
Greene County has six public schools; Ruckersville Elementary School, Nathaniel Greene Elementary School, Greene Primary School, William Monroe Middle School, William Monroe High School, and the High School Technical Education Center. We currently have a SRO assigned to the middle school and the high school on a daily basis. When time permits, these individuals are responsible for site visits to the remaining schools. As call volume for the middle school and high schools increase, the visits to the remaining schools are becoming almost obsolete. Five of the school locations are within 2.23 miles of one another, with the Sheriff’s office itself only 1.83 miles from four of the facilities and .4 miles from the fifth. The remaining school, Ruckersville Elementary School, is over 8.5 miles away from the middle/high school and the Sheriff’s office. The overall concern for the Sheriff’s office as well as the school system is the specific location of the school and the subsequent response time during an actual event.
Ms. Brown thanked the Sheriff and his department during the past two weeks of bomb threats. Geographically, Ruckersville Elementary is isolated from the main public schools campus in Stanardsville and this geographic separation creates what was described as a “critical” resource officer need. The request faced a deadline of Wednesday, January 15th – the day after the meeting. She concluded her presentation asking the BOS for their support of this request.
Chairman Jim Frydl (Midway) commented that the funds for this type of request would be funded by both the Sheriff’s department and the School Board in a ratio of 35/65. Supervisor David Cox (Monroe) took time to compliment the school system in their response that he saw a year ago when a similar issue arose and he also we very complimentary of the Resource Officers and that he agreed with the need for one at Ruckersville.
New Supervisor Bill Martin (Stanardsville) also was in support of the addition of a Resource Officer. It not only was the right thing to do but may also avoid liability if the officer is not added. Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville) commented that the cost of the Resource Officer was a small price to pay to protect our children. Chairman Frydl stated that the BOS approved a similar request last year and saw no reason not to approve this request. Supervisor Eddie Deane (At-Large) commented that this is the way life now is and there was no choice but to add the officer. He believes the community supports this action.
The action unanimously was passed by a 5 – 0 vote.
In other Board business, Frydl was reelected Chairman and Cox was elected Vice Chair.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.