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Leaders to explore paying for deputies in New Hanover elementary schools

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The shootings last month in Newtown, CT, have sparked a common theme at elementary schools nationwide: increased police presence. We're seeing the change at all elementary schools in New Hanover County.

Sheriff Ed McMahon hopes to work with the county on a long-term solution.

"My opinion is what's the best solution? We get an officer in every school," McMahon said.

And that's exactly what he has set up through the end of the month. The sheriff has placed 24 armed deputies from various divisions within his office in the county's elementary schools.

The sheriff says all of the officers selected showed interest in the job.

"In the short-term fix, we've got it covered with the majority earning overtime pay," McMahon said.

Looking to a long-term plan, Sheriff McMahon hopes to work with the county and area leaders to develop a program where officers would be a mainstay in the schools, receiving school resource officer training.

"It's not just going to be an officer with a gun; to be able to interact with the children and teach them, and this will be a whole generation that we will be able to reach in a much more positive way that we haven't been able to do before," McMahon said.

The sheriff has already seen a huge response from officers wanting to change positions and work in the schools.

If county commissioners approve the program, funding will be the next immediate concern. Commission Chair Woody White says it will take the beach towns, the City of Wilmington and the county to join forces and cover the cost. Sheriff McMahon says the money is worth it to help prevent a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook from happening here.

"Looking at it from a security and safety standpoint, the only way to try and stop that is putting deputies in the schools," he said.

Carolina Beach Mayor Bob Lewis says he is hopeful to work with other mayors to pull together the financial resources for a long-term plan.

Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti told us town leaders plan to review any future proposal from the county.

We could not reach Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo for his opinion.

At this point, the Sheriff's Office is not sure how much placing deputies in elementary schools will cost. Long-term plans will be reviewed during the New Hanover County Commission meeting Monday night.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Use deputies for the

Use deputies for the schools, highway patrolmen for the highways, coast guard for the ports, wildlife for game control, marine fisheries for the fish,dea for drug engforcement, ice for illegal immigrants enforcement, sbi for state matters, fbi for federal matters, my god, how many badges does it take to do 1 job? right now it seems like there is 5 agencies patrolling the waterway, 5 or more city cop cars pulling over 1 car for sa seatbelt violation.

Just Elementary schools?

I understand why this decision is being made, but what about the rest of the kids? What's so funny is that on the WWAY website you see this story and the story about a threat to Hoggard right next to each other. Just because kids grow up doesn't mean they don't deserve to be protected just like the younger ones .. just saying

Cops n Kids

Thought we had some as hall monitors. How many deputies do we have in the county now. Use them where you need them and let NCSHP monitor the roadways and you will have enough without hiring more 25 yr retirement people. Quit growing government including local.

This is really a no brainer.

This is really a no brainer. Use the officer for everything,traffic control in the morning and afternoon. Teach DARE or other age appropriate classes to the kids. Have lunch with a different group of kids everyday.Be there for all extra events that take place at the school. Maybe if the officer is "in shape" a little PE with the kids. This can really be turned into a win win situation if done correctly. Would also be good if possible to put in officer who lives in the same community. The parents and kids would really warm up to this if it is done correctly. Maybe even use an officer who has a child that goes to the school.

I would love to have had a job of this nature. When I worked for the state as an LEO I did go into middle and high schools and talk to kids about alcohol and drugs. Not as responsive as they are while in elementary school

I agree with all Guest123234

I agree with all Guest123234 said except with directing traffic. The Deputy is of no good to the school if he is away from the building directing traffic. Nearly every school shooting that has occurred happens in the morning.

Directing traffic is very

Directing traffic is very early like 730-800am and late like 330-4. At these times the kids are not there settled in they are moving about the outside of the bldgs. These are not set in stone ideas. Just throwing some things around to get the most use out of the person they might use. I have 3 kids in NH county schools and these are just some observations I am making from being in the schools for the last 8 years. For some schools it might not be appropriate but for CB elementary it would.

ya thats smart have the

ya thats smart have the officer play dodge ball, then we pay them, mean while a tragedy takes place. Real smart 123234

Just making suggestions for

Just making suggestions for the officer to be involved with the kids and not just stand a stationary post somewhere all the time so that an assailant can figure out where the deputy is at any given time of the day. You have no experience in security matters right??. The gym or playground is part of the school and the officer would have to be somewhere at any given point in the day.Officers believe it or not can carry concealed weapons on duty. When you have provided personal security for the former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief political Advisor to the President of the United States give me a call and we can discuss a few things.

With so many out of work?

It take a "village" to raise a child, why NOT a village to protect them?
Parents NOT Employed, protecting other Kids, wouldn't it be *fair* to "charge* each parent 1.00,per week, for "protection"?
Just a thought..