Anderson District 5 Schools To Bring In Private Security Guards - WSPA.com

Anderson District 5 Schools To Bring In Private Security Guards

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One Anderson County district will soon bring in private security guards to act as school resource officers. One Anderson County district will soon bring in private security guards to act as school resource officers.
ANDERSON, S.C. - School may over for the summer in parts of the upstate, but it's not stopping districts from preparing for next year, especially when it comes to keeping your child safe.

One Anderson County district will soon bring in private security guards to act as school resource officers.

"We want to do everything that is within our power to make schools safe," said Superintendent Tom Wilson with Anderson County’s District 5 Schools.

Wilson said they've put major resources into school safety measures since tragedies like Sandy Hook rocked the nation.

"We spent an enormous amount of money over the last 18 months on securing our schools," he explained.

Currently there's 14 designated officers at middle and high schools in the district from either the Sheriff's Office or police department, but Wilson said that adds up and they are looking at private security to fill 7 positions to outfit all schools, including elementary.

“It was just a cost issue," he explained.

Wilson said this gets down to contract basics.  SRO's require a 12 month contract, but private security is need based. That's where he said cost savings come in.

"We believe it'll be around 40 to 41 thousand dollars per private security for a 180 day contract," said Wilson.

That's a savings between 15 to 30 thousand dollars per guard, compared to what they pay for law enforcement officers. Private security will carry guns but cannot arrest anyone. They can only detain until police arrive.

"I think if the district is looking to save money, this just isn't an area they should not be touching," said District 5 mom, Nirmala Bruce.

She said she's not comfortable with a guard who may be less qualified than law enforcement carrying a weapon around children. She said law enforcement officers receive more crisis training.

“Now more than ever it seems we would need the MOST qualified people to protect our kids," stressed Bruce.

7 On Your Side’s Addie Hampton reached out to other county agencies who shared similar fears about private security when it comes to active shooter training and weapons handling.

Wilson said the solution is simple; they are asking for prior law enforcement experience and security guards will be rotated around the district.

"We'll ensure we have quality,” said Wilson.

The District says they will start taking bids from firms once the budget is approved by the board, Tuesday. Currently, District Three in Anderson County also employs private security officers. 
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Addie Hampton
Addie is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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