FAULKNER COUNTY, AR (KTHV) - THV 11 has learned about another proposal on the table for some Central Arkansas schools that would allow certain staff to carry guns on campus. The idea here would not arm teachers, but it would allow administrators in Faulkner County Schools to become part of the reserve unit for the sheriff's office.
"The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and that good guy doesn't necessarily have to have a badge pinned on his chest," Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock said.
Sheriff Shock is floating a school protection plan right now with Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland.
"I think it puts our schools in a position where they are less of a soft target and helps mitigate a catastrophe, and god forbids that it happens," said Hiland, who is with the 20th Judicial District.
The plan would allow administrators in Faulkner County schools to become reserve officers. They would undergo 110 hours of state-mandated training, psychological evaluations and school-specific lessons.
"One of those being weapon retention, another would be building search, shoot, don't shoot scenarios," Sheriff Shock said.
Sheriff Shock feels that this is the best option since his office can't put school resource officers in every building. Parent Eric Phillips from Mt. Vernon is on board.
"You hate to ever think about that being needed, but with proper training and education, I wouldn't have a problem with it," Phillips said.
Phillips also feels that this plan offers peace of mind since response times to rural areas like his aren't always so fast.
"That's probably the last place you would want an extended time to a school house you know, so to have someone already trained and capable would be somewhat of a relief," Phillips said.
Sheriff Shock and Prosecutor Hiland have recently visited schools districts to discuss this plan. It will be each district's decision on what they want to do going forward.
Since the story aired, THV 11 News spoke with Dr. Greg Murry, Superintendent of the Conway School District. He says the district is not interested in pursuing this plan. We also talked with Superintendent Larry Walters with the Mt. Vernon-Enola School District. Walters says he tentatively plans to bring the idea up to his school board at its next meeting on August 15th.
Sheriff Shock realizes that there may a lot of liability with this, but he told THV 11 that he's willing to take it on to protect his county.
The sheriff and Hiland also said that this plan falls within the law since the state allows an exception for law enforcement to carry on school campuses.