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Federal assistance denied for Lee County school resource officers

A federal grant intended to fund a part of the cost to initially place a school resource officer at every school in Lee County has been denied.

Posted: Oct. 10, 2018 7:01 PM
Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 7:50 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A federal grant intended to fund a part of the cost to initially place a school resource officer at every school in Lee County has been denied.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and Lee County School District Superintendent Jimmy Weeks approached the Lee County Board of Supervisors in May to request half of the $560,000 needed.

The $280,000 grant was denied on September 30, which is half the total for the officers.

The Lee County School Board has agreed to cover the other half.

"Now we're back to square one," said Sheriff Johnson. "We're not going to quit on our end."

Johnson says he and Weeks will go back to the board Friday to make the request again for funding for six new resource officers.

"The problem you got is this isn't going to be an instant fix," added Johnson. "This is not something that they approve it Friday, we hire them Monday and they'll be in the school Tuesday."

Superintendent Weeks released this statement:

"The Lee County School District is extremely concerned and equally committed to the safety and well-being of every student in our schools. I believe in my heart that the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Lee County Board of Supervisors are as equally committed to keeping our children safe. We are terribly disappointed that Lee County did not receive a federal grant to help with the cost of placing a law enforcement officer in every school in the district. The sheriff and I will talk to the Supervisors again this Friday about providing additional funding to make an officer in every school a reality. However, we all know that funds are scarce. I believe the Board of Supervisors will help us with this in anyway they can."

Lee County Board of Supervisors President Mike Smith says they will be searching for options to cover the remaining portion of the funds.

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