Alcohol sales help bring officers back to Murray schools

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - David Dycus
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

MURRAY, Ky. - Principal Teresa Speed said Thursday she loves arriving to Murray High School each morning and seeing the black and white police S.U.V. parked out front.

"When they told us we were going to be able to have this, it was just a load off," she said of school resource officers returning to the school January 2nd.

Back in 2007, the state budget ax cut the school's resource officers. Officers still came, she said, but not as often as she would have liked, "They came out several times a year and walked through the building with me"

Now, they have a constant presence in the district's 3 schools.

"They look at things a little different than an educator would," Murray City Police Sgt. David Howe said of the importance of having two officers, armed with guns, in the schools at all times.

Sgt. Howe says the city allowing alcohol sales was instrumental in providing revenue to get officers back. The city is projecting an additional revenue of $10,000 per month. Some of that will go to the Police Department who hired several additional patrol officers, in addition to the two school resource officers.

"That's one of the first programs we looked at, putting school resource officers back into the schools," Howe said, adding discussions began in late summer, months before tragedy struck at Sandy Hook Elementary.

That shooting, Principal Speed admits, has not been far from her mind. She says she can now rest a little easier knowing officers are back in her school.

"If we're doing our very best then I can lay my head down at night and know we're prepared."

It was Governor Beshear's office that made extensive cuts to the Education Department back in 2007 in order to balance the budget. Today, Beshear told Local 6 he was 'very interested' in President Obama's recommendation to hire one thousand school resource officers and mental health professionals.

"I appreciate that a national conversation about gun violence is underway, and I remain open to hearing ideas that will help our country improve our children's safety," Beshear said in a written statement.

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