DeSoto County Schools opt out of school security grants - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto County Schools opt out of school security grants

(WMC-TV) - DeSoto County Schools will not apply for several $10,000 grants to put armed officers in its schools.

Many Mississippi residents know firsthand how a school shooting can devastate a community. Sixteen years after the shooting in Pearl, Mississippi, the horror of that day has not been forgotten.

The more recent shooting in Connecticut compelled Mississippi lawmakers to offer up money to reinforce school security.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves first proposed the grant program called Mississippi Community Oriented Policing or MCOPS, after the Newton shooting.

"We think this is an additional step that will help make our kids safe and safer in our schools," said Lt. Gov. Reeves.

There have been two waves of a competitive application process. Each district gets $10,000 per officer that they request. The Mississippi Department of Education says those officers go in well-prepared.

They will undergo law enforcement and standards training, as well as a week long school resource officer basic training course. Then, each one is trained on the alert system.

For some districts, this is the only way to get more officers on campus, but for others it may not make financial sense.

DeSoto County opted not to apply for grant money, saying the agreement the district already has with the county to supply officers is a better arrangement.

The Commercial Appeal reports several North Mississippi districts are using the grants to hire more school resource officers including South Panola, Senatobia, North Panola, and Holly Springs.

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