Deputies to be Posted in all Henry County Schools

Natalie Potts

HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. - The Henry County Sheriff's Department is placing deputies at their schools after Christmas Break.

In wake of the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said his department will pay for additional school resource officers out of pocket to ensure the children's safety.

"We are basically manipulating our scheduling of manpower and overtime budgets so that every minute the kids are in school, there will be a deputy there on site with them," said Sheriff Belew.

Parents told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News they were relieved to see that the Henry County Sheriff's Office was taking their children's safety into their own hands.

"We all love our children and whatever we can do to protect them needs to be done," said resident Virginia Griffin.

Sheriff Belew said his department has been busy walking through each school and preparing emergency guide handbooks for every officer to carry on the job. Parents said they are glad the deputies will be posted, but their fear of another shooting will remain.

"I think it's going to be more comfortable having guards at school but as for the fear, I think the fear is always going to be there," said parent John Mcmutt.

Sheriff Belew said he wants his department to take proactive steps rather than reactive steps so that officers are prepared.

"It's never going to take away that fear and I understand that," said Sheriff Belew. "We want to be proactive rather than reactive to prevent something like that from happening. If it does happen, we want to be ready for it and be able to respond."

Sheriff Belew said it is his hope that the additional deputies on guard will also serve as role models and school guidance counselors on duty. Parents said they are thankful for the protection.

"It's sad, yes, but it's necessary," said Mcmutt. "To have somebody that's armed guard at the school, they have to be trained ready to go, and this is a good place to start."

Officers will begin their shift changes in the new year as soon as students go back to school.


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