SRO bodycams likely to stay at Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, district says

SRO body cams likely to stay at Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 19:13:02-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Body cameras have often proven useful to law enforcement and the public when certain situations arise. But one local school district has been putting them to use too.

"Of course, we are also first and foremost a law enforcement entity, but as well as a counselor — an informal counselor — to our students," said Sergeant Angela Christian with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Christian is a school resource officer unit supervisor with MCSO. She admits a lot has changed during her time working in schools.

"So about a year ago, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System purchased some body cameras through a safe school grant that they obtained," said Christian. "That grant was able to be used for safety and security and other entities under that umbrella."

For the first time, every school resource officer in the district walked the hallways wearing a body camera.

Although the cameras are always on, officers have to manually start and stop recordings during an incident.

"Our supervisors, as well as command staff, can view those, whether it's incident-related or training based. We use those footages for a variety of reasons," said Christian.

Just last year there were more than 800 student charges in juvenile court. School resource officers were on hand for many of those incidents.

Now it seems the body cameras won't be going anywhere.

"I don't foresee them being removed at any time soon," said Christian. "It's a tool that we use and I think it's going to be a valid tool we'll continue using."

This comes as 42 additional cameras were ordered for the Sheriff's Office patrol unit.

"You know it's accountability, it's safety, it's the safety for our community, it's a safety mechanism that we can use for ourselves," said Christian. "So it's a two-fold system." Those cameras will be arriving in the next few weeks.

A representative with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System sent the following statement:

"School Resource Officers are employed by MCSO. Body-worn cameras for SROs were purchased using recurring TN Safe Schools Act grant funding the District receives based on the BEP, which has been around $750,000. That funding is used for various safety, security, and social and emotional health initiatives for our schools, and expenditures are approved by the state. Body-worn cameras for SROs were purchased with these grant funds in collaboration with MCSO, and MCSO controls the implementation, policies, procedures, and servers for those cameras. CMCSS will continue to work collaboratively with MCSO on grant funding utilization. CMCSS appreciates the strong partnership with MCSO to provide safety, security, and guidance to our schools."