The Macon County Board of Education, as well as the governing bodies of Lafayette, Red Boiling, and the county at large, acted quickly in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Within weeks of the December tragedy, resolutions had been passed to implement new safety measures in Macon Schools.
Among these, the Macon County Sheriff’s department was given a directive to find and install four new SROs (School Resource Officers). Sheriff Mark Gammons installed officers immediately on a test basis, and made official selections early this month.
Including the three that were already in place, there are now seven full time SROs, one at each school site in the county, at the following locations:
- Phil Harper—Central Elementary School
- Timothy Hackett—Westside Elementary School
- Josh Smith—Lafayette Elementary School
- Jennifer Coley—Fairlane Elementary School
- Terry Atkins—Macon County High School
- Brian Carter—Macon County Jr. High School
- Ira Meador—Red Boiling Springs High School
Note: Until Jennifer Coley completes her SRO training in the next month, she and Josh Smith have been working together, splitting time between LES and Fairlane.
Harper, who has made his presence known at Central Elementary for well over a month now, said that he believes the change will be very positive for county children.
“It’s good for them to start seeing officers in kindergarten, and all the way through high school,” said Harper. “I think it’ll benefit them when they get out of school, too. A lot of them are scared of them; a lot of them have homes lives where they’ve seen the police, but it wasn’t a good thing…
“I love it here. I love them to death; they’re so funny. I’ve been to each and every classroom here, introduced myself, asked them to call me if they have any problems… It’s all about the children—their safety is the most important thing.”