It's very important to me, and my staff, that you find this site to be a useful resource of information regarding your Sheriff's Office.
In light of the recent Page News article referencing school saftey, I thought the following copy of an e-mail I sent to a concerned citizen today would be helpful for all to read:
"Thank you for your e-mail . If you had read the entire article I said that I would rather see hardening of the schools before adding more SRO’s. I think SRO’s are great, but if I can get in a school unchallenged and ...with no system to be “buzzed” in then I can, in a matter of seconds, do a lot of damage before an SRO can react and get to my location. Hardening can be done quickly. SRO’s would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors for funding (about $400,000.00 per year for a starting salary of $32,500 plus benefits for the 7 new positions I would need). It takes about two months to screen applicants, do back grounds, polygraph, etc.; then an additional 7 to 9 months to get them through the academy and their field training. To be an SRO they first must be fully trained and DCJS certified as a road deputy, in addition they need to go to SRO school as soon as practical after being assigned to the schools.
I fully understand your concerns and do not disagree with them; but the best money spent for child protection is to harden the schools now and get the SRO’s as soon as the money is appropriated and we can do so. In the mean time our deputies will patrol the schools when not on other calls or other duties and we are and will continue to coordinate our efforts with the local police departments for the schools in their jurisdictions. I am sure you are aware that we have full time SRO’s in both high schools currently.
Please feel free to call me and set up a time to meet. It would be great if you and others could express your concerns and willingness to fund new SRO positions at a joint School Board / Board of Supervisors meeting where both Dr. Powers and myself could be in attendance to hear your input and help move the appropriate process along.
Thank you again and have a blessed Christmas
John B. Thomas
Sheriff of Page County
Isa 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.