Putnam Sheriff Eddie Farris and Senator Bill Hagerty discussed school safety and law enforcement needs during the senator’s visit Tuesday.
Farris said they touched base on the new school safety bill and SRO funding recently approved by the state. In addition, Farris said he got an update on work Hagerty is doing at the federal level to try to increase funding for school safety.
“And so that would be some additional money that we could get and that pretty much primarily focuses on law enforcement going into the school and retired military,” Farris said. “So they are working on that right now as we speak.”
The SAFE School Act establishes a $900 million grant program that will allow both public and private schools to train and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers. It also would allow funding to hire off-duty law enforcement officers, and provide funding to harden schools, and increase physical security.
Farris said they hope the bill continues to move forward so they can add more SROs and invest more dollars into school safety. He said communities across the country have taken a vested interest in school safety, so he hopes there is support for these efforts from the federal government.
“They’re good about checking school safety and certainly asking me and I’m sure they’re asking other sheriffs, but they want input and they got input from me as they always do and they know we’re the boots on the ground and we know what our needs are,” “(…)Any time we can provide more training to individuals to help keep our schools safe and especially when it’s at the expense of the federal government and coming to Putnam County free of charge, we certainly want to do that.”
Farris said he and Senator Hagerty are long-time friends, and that Hagerty makes time to visit Putnam to catch up every so often.