OC Sheriff’s Office tables ASAP School Security Program

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw announces that the Sheriff’s Office is tabling the ASAP School Security Program that was proposed by the Sheriff’s Office and the School District of Oconee County a few weeks ago. “With the commitment that the School District and County Council has made in regards to placing a School Resource Officer in every elementary, middle, and high school in our county, I have decided to table any further discussion of the ASAP program at this time,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “Our number one priority has been to place an SRO in every school in the District and I am grateful to both the School Board and County Council for making this commitment for our students, parents, teachers and administrators. Hiring and training nine new deputies to be resource officers in our schools must be given our priority in order to work toward having as many as we can in place for the 2018-2019 school year.” According to Sheriff Crenshaw, the ASAP program would have provided an extra layer of security on top of what the SRO’s can provide to keep students, administrators and employees safe during the school day. The program would be strictly voluntary and would not be a program to simply arm teachers. “There were some misconceptions among the public and media that the ASAP would arm teachers and that simply is not true and was never the intention of the program,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “The program, for those who wanted to volunteer, would have given secure access to a firearm to other staff employees at the individual schools whose primary responsibility was not being assigned to teach our students. We would never ask teachers to leave their students alone during an emergency situation. Those who volunteered for the program would have gone through the same training that current law enforcement officers go through in this state, which would include firearms training and psychological testing that all officers must have according state guidelines. Additional advanced training would also have been a part of this program. Even though the program is tabled for the time being, Sheriff Crenshaw is planning to continue researching additional ways to make our schools safer in hopes of further diminishing our schools being a target for an active shooter. Increased mental health services being provided by our school district is another step in the right direction. Providing a pilot firearms training course to some school personnel along with the psychological evaluation is an additional way to gather further data and information on potential implementation of the program like this in the future. The Sheriff’s Office will continue speaking with and researching other areas of the country where a program like the ASAP program is being implemented. Media reports just last week indicated a similar program beginning in a county within the state of Georgia. The School District of Oconee County along with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is committed to ensuring the safety of students and staff in our county. Any additional safety and security measures being considered going forward will be publically discussed with the School Board and parents of students in our county.