According to WCSD Capt. Charles Sanders, the $1.3 million in state Department of Criminal Justice Service grants will allow the department to keep dedicated officers at three schools in the Wise County Schools complex in Wise and at Union Primary School in Big Stone Gap.
Also, the grants will allow the assignment of two officers at Coeburn Primary and Wise Primary schools, Sanders said.
The latter two schools have been covered by officers handling other nearby schools, Sanders said, but the grant funding means there will be a full-time officer at all county schools at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. Two new deputies will be hired and trained as patrol deputies, freeing up experienced deputies for the two new positions, he said.
The new positions will mean 12 school resource officers for the county.
“Through grant funding, support of the Wise County Board of Supervisors and Wise County School Board, we now have a dedicated deputy at each Wise County public school,” said Sheriff Ronnie Oakes.
Assistant Sheriff Grant Kilgore said the department has added eight resource officer positions: the six under DCJS grants and two funded by the Board of Supervisors.
“We will continue to build upon our School Resource Officer Program by having the most qualified, most equipped, and well-trained deputies assigned to schools,” Kilgore said.