Photo by Allie Saxon.
0213 safe, happy and secure
Hoover Police Officer Chris Harper with GreystoneElementary students.
For the remainder of the school year, a police officer will be stationed at every school in the Hoover system.
The Hoover City Council passed a resolution that increased the 2013 fiscal year budget by an amount not to exceed $100,000 on Jan. 8. The funding allows the Hoover Police Department to hire four temporary, full-time officers through September 2013. This will permit the department to place one officer in every school through the entirety of the school day.
“The big thing is, this will create a comfort level for teachers, parents and students,” Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey said. “We want to be proactive instead of reactive in these situations; it’s something we feel they deserve.”
The decision comes in response to the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 20 children and seven adults dead, including the shooter.
“I think it is great and needed,” parent Kevin Tidwell said. “It makes a lot of sense. If we have trained forces with guns guarding the president, banks, etc., then why would we not for our children, especially how things are going right now?”
Tidwell noted that everyone he has talked to about officers being in schools has given positive feedback.
Police officer Chris Harper, now assigned to Greystone Elementary, said parents, teachers and administrators have been highly engaging and welcoming and seem happy to see him around.
“I think it sends a message to the community and schools that the kids are our priority,” Harper said. “Parents want to make sure the schools are safe for their kids.”
Tony Ballard, former teacher and Hoover resident, advocates prioritizing school safety, although officers in schools would not be the first measure “I do not believe in armed teachers and administrators because I was a teacher and it was not in our job description, but I do think it is a positive thing they are trying to keep the schools safe,” he said.